Did you every get the feeling that after a complete poking, prodding and testicular cupping at your doctor’s office that maybe the doctor didn’t really know what’s best? You usually push that thought out of your mind because you believe that after going through all those years of medical school and spending thousands of dollars of their wealthy parents’ money, they should know what’s best for you. I mean, if you can’t trust them with your health, who the heck can you trust?
Here’s the thing you must keep in mind — doctors have a long history of not knowing what the hell they’re doing. History supplies us with stories of hilarious medical foolishness and in all likeliness, today’s medical practices that seem sensible, will be laughed at 109 years down the road.
In other words, if you want to justify your medical paranoia, you can rationalize not getting that nasty lump on the side of your neck, checked out.
#1. Children’s Soothing Cough Syrups
In the 1800s, people were just too busy churning butter, waxing their mustaches or changing in and out of 18 layers of undergarments each time they went to take a piss or a dump to be bothered with disobedient children. To help the stressed 19th-century mom, a series of “soothing cough syrups,” lozenges and powders were created. These potions were carefully created to ensure they were safe for use by those most vulnerable members of the family. But, seriously,they pumped each bottle full of as many narcotics as it could hold. If you tried this today, you’d be put in jail for attempted murder of a minor.
For example, each ounce of Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup contained 68 mg of pure morphine.
Based on our experiences experimenting with pure morphine, that seems a bit much. In 1911 the New York Times newspaper decided the whole narcotic-babysitter concept was probably a bad idea in the long run, and ran an article highlighting that these soothing syrups contained, “…morphin sulphate, chloroform, morphine hydrochloride, codeine, heroin, powdered opium, cannabis indica,” and sometimes several of them in combination.
Sounds like poisons to me.
You can’t say the soothing syrups weren’t effective. As long as you were okay with your toddler being strung out on the midnight oil or, you know, dead. That’s right, the terrible 2s weren’t considered cute back then. Kids were not only at their brattiest but some ended updied. And in many cases after their parents tried to cure the aforementioned brattiness with narcotic concoctions that would give Lindsay Lohan a nose bleed.
#2. Mercury As A Cure
Mercury is some pretty deadly stuff. Don’t let the shiny silvery liquid fool you because it has fascinated humans for thousands of years. There’s even some evidence that people used it as early as 1501 BC) and will undoubtedly continue to be fascinated by it far into the future when shape-shifting Robert Patrick clones overtake the planet.
How could something so cool looking be so deadly? Kind of reminds you of a sexy lady.
That was the thinking for centuries. When they used Mercury to treat pretty much anything and everything, many people just died. Scraped your knee? Just rub a little mercury on it. Having some problems with constipation? Forget fiber, time to get some mercury up in your ass! If you lived more than 105 years ago, you simply weren’t considered healthy if you weren’t leaking silver from at least one orifice.
Mercury is toxic as hell, but the old-school doctors felt differently. Symptoms of mercury poisoning includes chest pains, heart and lung problems, coughing, tremors, violent muscle spasms, psychotic reactions, delirium, hallucinations, suicidal tendencies, restless spleen syndrome, testicular twisting and anal implosion. OK, I simply just made the last few up, but they barely looked out of place on that horror show list of symptoms did they?