A PLAGUE DOCTOR was a medical physician who treated victims of the plague . They were specifically hired by towns that had many plague victims in times of epidemics . Since the city was paying their salary, they treated everyone: both the wealthy and the poor. However, some plague doctors were known for charging patients and their families extra for special treatments and/or false cures. They were not normally professionally trained experienced physicians or surgeons , and often were second-rate doctors unable to otherwise run a successful medical business or young physicians trying to establish themselves. These doctors rarely cured their patients; rather, they got a count of the number of people contaminated for demographic purposes.
Plague doctors by their covenant treated plague patients and were known as municipal or "community plague doctors", whereas "general practitioners" were separate doctors and both might be in the same European city or town at the same time. In France and the Netherlands, plague doctors often lacked medical training and were referred to as "empirics". In one case, a plague doctor had been a fruit salesman before his employment as a physician.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, some doctors wore a
beak-like mask which was filled with aromatic items. The masks were
designed to protect them from putrid air, which (according to the
miasmatic theory of disease) was seen as the cause of infection. The
design of these costumes has been attributed to
Charles de Lorme , the
chief physician to
* 1 History * 2 Costume * 3 Public servants * 4 Methods * 5 Notable medieval plague doctors * 6 Footnotes
* 7 References
* 7.1 Primary sources * 7.2 Secondary sources
* 8 External links
The first European epidemic of the bubonic plague dates back to the
mid 6th century and is called the
Plague of Justinian
In some cases, plague doctors were so valuable that when Barcelona
dispatched two to
Main article: Plague doctor costume
Some plague doctors wore a special costume . The garments were invented by Charles de L\'Orme in 1619 and were first used in Paris, but later spread to be used throughout Europe. The protective suit consisted of a heavy, waxed fabric overcoat, a mask with glass eye openings and a beak shaped nose, typically stuffed with herbs, straw, and spices. Plague doctors would also commonly carry a cane to examine and direct patients without the need to make direct contact with the patient.
The scented materials included juniper berry , ambergris , lemon Balm
(Melissa officinalis), mint (
Plague doctors served as public servants during times of epidemics starting with the Black Death of Europe in the fourteenth century. Their principal task, besides taking care of plague victims, was to record in public records the deaths due to the plague.
In certain European cities like
Plague doctors practiced bloodletting and other remedies such as putting frogs or leeches on the buboes to "rebalance the humors " as a normal routine. Plague doctors could not generally interact with the general public because of the nature of their business and the possibility of spreading the disease; they could also be subject to quarantine .
NOTABLE MEDIEVAL PLAGUE DOCTORS
A famous plague doctor who gave medical advice about preventive measures which could be used against the plague was Nostradamus . Nostradamus' advice was the removal of infected corpses, getting fresh air, drinking clean water, and drinking a juice preparation of rose hips . In Traité des fardemens it shows in Part A Chapter VIII that Nostradamus also recommended not to bleed the patient.
The Italian city of
Pavia , in 1479, contracted Giovanni de Ventura
as a community plague doctor. The Irish physician , Niall Ó
Glacáin (c.1563?–1653) earned deep respect in Spain, France and
Italy for his bravery in treating numerous victims of the plague.
The French anatomists
* ^ A B C Cipolla, p. 65 * ^ Cipolla, p. 68 3/4 down page * ^ Rosenhek, Jackie (October 2011). "Doctors of the Blahji am the best ck Death". Doctor's Review. * ^ Ellis, p. 202 * ^ A B C D Byrne (Daily), p. 169 * ^ Simon, p. 3 * ^ A B C Byrne, 170 * ^ "The "Science" Behind Today\'s Plague Doctor Costume". Gizmodo. June 2017. * ^ Gordon, p. 471 * ^ Byrne, 168 * ^ Christine M. Boeckl, Images of plague and pestilence: iconography and iconology (Truman State University Press, 2000), pp. 15, 27. * ^ Byrne (Encyclopedia), p. 505 * ^ Irvine Loudon , Western Medicine: An Illustrated History (Oxford, 2001), p. 189. * ^ Wray, p. 172 * ^ Wray, p. 173 * ^ "The Plague Doctor". Jhmas.oxfordjournals.org. 2012-04-02. Retrieved 2012-06-12. * ^ Robert S. Gottfried, The Black Death: natural and human disaster in medieval Europe (Simon & Schuster, 1983), pp. 126–28. * ^ Byfield, p.37 * ^ Robert S. Gottfried, The Black Death: natural and human disaster in medieval Europe (Simon & Schuster, 1983), p. 126. * ^ Hogue, p. 1844 * ^ The essential Nostradamus: literal translation, historical commentary, and ... By Richard Smoley. Books.google.com. 2006-01-19. ISBN 978-1-4406-4984-4 . Retrieved 2012-06-12. * ^ Pickover, p. 279 * ^ A B "Excellent et moult utile opuscule à tous/ nécessaire qui désirent avoir connoissan/ ce de plusieurs exquises receptes divisé/ en deux parties./ La première traicte de diverses façons/ de fardemens et senteurs pour illustrer et/ embelir la face./ La seconde nous montre la façon et/ manière de faire confitures de plusieurs/ sortes... Nouvellement composé par Maistre/ Michel de NOSTREDAME docteur/ en medecine... by Nostradamus". Propheties.it. Retrieved 2012-06-12. * ^ King, p. 339 * ^ Stephen, p. 927 * ^ Woods JO (1982). "THE HISTORY OF MEDICINE IN IRELAND; by J. OLIVER WOODS, MD, FRCGP, Page 40" (PDF). Ulster Med J. 51: 35–45. PMC 2385830 . PMID 6761926 . * ^ Körner, p. 13
* Nostradamus. The Prophecies of Nostradamus, self-published 1555 reprinted by Forgotten Books publishing 1973, ISBN 1-60506-507-2 * Nostradamus. Traité des fardemens et confitures self-published 1555
Wikimedia Commons has media related to PLAGUE DOCTORS .
* Bauer, S. Wise, The Story of the World Activity Book Two: The Middle Ages : From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance, Peace Hill Press, 2003, ISBN 0-9714129-4-4 * Byfield, Ted, Renaissance: God in Man, A.D. 1300 to 1500: But Amid Its Splendors, Night Falls on Medieval Christianity, Christian History Project, 2010, ISBN 0-9689873-8-9 * Byrne, Joseph Patrick, Daily Life during the Black Death, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006, ISBN 0-313-33297-5 * Byrne, Joseph Patrick, Encyclopedia of Pestilence, Pandemics, and Plagues, ABC-Clio, 2008, ISBN 0-313-34102-8 * Cipolla, Carlo M. 'A Plague Doctor', in Harry A. Miskimin et al. (eds), The Medieval City, Yale University Press, 1977, pp. 65–72. ISBN 0-300-02081-3 * Ellis, Oliver C., A History of Fire and Flame 1932 , Kessinger Publishing, 2004, ISBN 1-4179-7583-0 * Fee, Elizabeth, AIDS: the burdens of history, University of California Press, 1988, ISBN 0-520-06396-1 * Haggard, Howard W., From Medicine Man to Doctor: The Story of the Science of Healing, Courier Dover Publications, 2004, ISBN 0-486-43541-5 * Hogue, John,Nostradamus: the new revelations, Barnes & Noble Books, 1995, ISBN 1-56619-948-4 * Gordon, Benjamin Lee, Medieval and Renaissance medicine, Philosophical Library, 1959 * Heymann, David L., The World Health Report 2007: a safer future : global public health security in the 21st century, World Health Organization, 2007, ISBN 92-4-156344-3 * Kenda, Barbara, Aeolian winds and the spirit in Renaissance architecture: Academia Eolia revisited, Taylor & Francis, 2006, ISBN 0-415-39804-5 * King, Margaret L., Western Civilization: a social and cultural history, Prentice-Hall, 2002, ISBN 0-13-045007-3 * Körner, Christian, Mountain Biodiversity: a global assessment, CRC Press, 2002, ISBN 1-84214-091-4 * O'Donnell, Terence, History of Life Insurance in its Formative Years, American Conservation Company, 1936 * Pickover, Clifford A., Dreaming the Future: the fantastic story of prediction, Prometheus Books, 2001, ISBN 1-57392-895-X * Pommerville, Jeffrey, Alcamo's Fundamentals of Microbiology, Jones padding:0.4em 2em">
* History portal * Medicine portal