The History of Medicine

  • 420 BCE


    Hippocrates wrote many writings on the examination and treatment of patients. Which included a strict code to main patient privacy and to never deliberately harm patients. Some may even call him the "founder of medicine".
  • Period: 400 BCE to 400

    Ancient Times

  • 320 BCE


    C-sections were often performed to remove a child from their mother, when she was dead or dying, in order to save the child's life.
  • 300 BCE


    Asclepius was the Greek god of healing and priests adopted the Rod of Asclepius as their symbol of medicine
  • 15 BCE

    Ancient Egypt

    Ancient Egypt
    Herbs were a huge part of ancient Egyptian medicine. For example,honey was used to heal burns and willow helped treat toothaches. Ancient Egyptian physicians used moldy bread as an antibiotic.
  • 150


    Galen was a Roman physician of Greek origin. He was a physician to the Gladiators. Galen wrote the doctrine of 4 bodily humors: Blood, Phlegm, Yellow, and Black bile. He also documented the importance of the spinal cord for movement of limbs and performed tracheotomy to cure breathing difficulties.
  • Period: 400 to 1400

    Middle Ages

  • 880


    Al-Razi wrote the Kitab al-Hawi fi al-tibb, which was a comprehensive book of medicine. In it he discussed the curing of gout and joints by the application of pastes with colchicum. He was able to observe and identify symptoms of Meningitis.
  • 1200


    Bloodletting in the Middle Ages was a popular treatment used to treat multiple diseases. They would make small incisions on veins to let the blood flow out or have leeches suck the excess blood out.
  • 1300


    Midwives assisted women of all classes when they were giving birth. Since midwives weren’t technically physicians.They were usually women whose only experience was having their own children.
  • 1320

    Barber Surgeons

    Barber Surgeons
    Barber Surgeons usually served in the military. They treated battle wounds, amputated limbs, and cauterized the stump to stop the patient from bleeding out.
  • 1400


    Herbalists concocted medicines for patients with prescriptions. They would use different seeds, bulbs,leaves, and other plant parts to conjure up a remedies.
  • 1400


    Autopsies were developed to find the cause of death in either suspected murder victims or in the case that someone wanted to find the cause of their illness to have their children treated for it.
  • Period: 1400 to


  • 1500

    Printing Press

    Printing Press
    Although not directly involved with medicine, the invention of the printing press helped medicine advance. This is because the printing press allowed for information and ideas to spread rapidly
  • 1520


    Paracelsus discovered that by drinking mercury, you could be cured of deadly diseases. Given that mercury was also toxic.
  • 1543

    Andreas Vesalius

    Andreas Vesalius
    Andreas Vesalius was the author of one of the most influential books of human anatomy, De humani corporis fabrica. He was the first to present accurate depiction of human anatomy.
  • William Harvey

    William Harvey
    By studying dying dogs, William Harvey discovered that the heart pumped blood throughout the entire body and that the heart had two distinct beating halves.
  • Period: to

    Industrial Revolution

  • Edward Jenner

    Edward Jenner
    Edward Jenner developed vaccinations by using the fluid from cowpox to prevent smallpox. His experiments on people were successful and his new discovery helped save thousands of people.
  • Florence Nightingale

    Florence Nightingale
    Florence Nightingale was the first women to be awarded the Order of Merit. She worked to formalize nursing education and is considering to be the founder of modern nursing.
  • Robert Koch

    Robert Koch
    Robert Koch discovered that microorganisms are the source of some diseases. He is considered the founder of modern bacteriology. Koch also identified the bacteria that cause anthrax
  • Joseph Lister

    Joseph Lister
    Joseph Lister promoted the idea of using sterile instruments and clean hands between patients. He used aseptic techniques to be able to maintain his things clean.
  • The Germ Theory

    The Germ Theory
    Louis Pasteur proved that microorganisms (germs) existed in the air and caused matter to decay. He later showed that germs land on people and can cause disease.
  • Period: to

    Modern Era

  • Wilhelm Conrad

    Wilhelm Conrad
    Wilhelm Conrad produced and detected electromagnetic radiation in a wavelength range. Today we call his discovery X-rays.
  • Aspirin

    Chemists working in the Bayer AG produced a synthetic version of salicin that was easier on the stomach. This new drug was later named Aspirin.
  • Different Human Blood types

    Different Human Blood types
    Karl Landsteiner identified the presence of agglutinins in blood and developed the modern system of classifying blood into groups.
  • Vitamins

    Fredrick Hopkins suggested that scurvy and rockets were caused by a lack of vitamins. Therefore, vitamins were discovered.
  • Paul Ehrlinch

    Paul Ehrlinch
    Paul Ehrlinch developed a chemotherapeutic cure for sleeping sickness. He also developed the first effective cure for syphlilis.
  • Yellow Fever Vaccine

    Yellow Fever Vaccine
    Max Theiler developed 17D by cultivating the virus in chicken eggs. Eventually, 17D was proven to be effective and was the first yellow fever vaccine.
  • HeLa cells

    HeLa cells
    HeLa cells are the first immortal cells cultured by scientists. Unlike normal cells, HeLa cells divide indefinitely. HeLa cells have been named the mother of modern medicine because of their ability to test diseases and discover more about human genes.
  • Laser eye surgery

    Laser eye surgery
    Mani Lal Bhaumik demostrated the world's first efficient excimer laser. In some cases, the patients wouldn't have any need for glasses or contacts.
  • Surgical Robot

    Surgical Robot
    Dr Yik San Kwoh created a surgical robot that was initially tested to see if it could extract a bb gun bullet out of a watermelon. It later helped perform a neurosurgical biopsy.
  • First full face transplant

    First full face transplant
    The full face transplant was carried out by Spanish doctors on a male adult who had injured his face in a shooting accident. Dr Joan Pere Barret lead the incredible 20 hour surgery. It was the first successful full face transplant.