During WWI, cotton was in high demand for the manufacture of uniforms and explosives. For bandages, doctors turned to using sphagnum moss. It can hold up to 22 times its own weight in liquid — twice as absorptive as cotton. The moss is also antiseptic, making the surrounding environment acidic.
Although it is commonly shown in medical dramas, you do not shock someone with a flatline. You only use defibrillators on people with ventricular fibrillation, and pulseless ventricular tachycardia (heart beats out of rhythm or heart beats that are really fast and out of sync).
In the 1900s doctors warned women that riding a bicycle may cause them to acquire “bicycle face”.
D.D. Palmer, the creator of chiropractic medicine, claimed to have received his ideas on chiropractic from “the other world” and considered declaring chiropractic to be a religion.
In 2015 a father saved his son’s life when doctors wrongly declared him braindead and were taking him off life support. He barricaded himself with a gun in the hospital and had a stand-off with SWAT until his son squeezed his hand. The son made a full recovery.
Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, but never tried to make an antibiotic out of it. It was not until a decade later that a man named Howard Florey found Fleming’s little-known paper and realized the mold’s potential. Florey’s work is estimated to have saved up to 200,000,000 lives.
A medieval English recipe was found to cure MRSA, an infection characterized by a resistance to antibiotics. It consists of wine, garlic, leek, and oxgall standing in a brass vessel for nine days. Each step “was crucial for its efficacy”.
In 1984, a woman started hearing a voice in her head. The voice told her she had a brain tumor, where the tumor was, and how to treat it. Despite no other symptoms, doctors eventually ordered tests and found a tumor where the voice said it would be.
Before the heart/lung machine was invented, a doctor oxygenated his patient’s blood by routing it through another person. Parents often served this purpose while their children had heart surgery.
Doctors from UCLA found unique blood cells that can help fight infections in a man from Seattle’s spleen, so they stole the cells from his body and developed it into medicine without paying him, getting his consent, or even letting him know they were doing it.