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Medicine in the 1930s

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Isabela B. Lima

on 20 October 2015

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Transcript of Medicine in the 1930s

Medicine in the 1930s

Common diseases in the 1930s
At the beginning of the 1930s, the most common
illnesses were
heart disease
infectious diseases
such as influenza and syphilis
Polio disease
also affected Americans,
as polio vaccines were only discovered in
the 1950s
Of greatest concern for most
Americans was the
of medicine and
treatment, because of the Great
Medication and treatment in the 1930s
Beginning of chemotherapeutic treatments in 1936
Improvement in anesthesia leads to less surgical pain
Blood transfusion techniques are safer and more common
Better X-ray equipment
Daily vitamins, hormones, and insulin are commonly used
Use of drugs in the 1930s
In the 1930s, drugs such as morphine, cocaine and heroin were relatively easy to obtain
These drugs were often sold in phramacies and found in common medicines such as cough syrup or sleeping aids
People would use these drugs to relieve stress, aid sleep, get rid of a cough, or even calm their children (calming medicine).
Addiction in the 1930s
Those taking these medications would often become addicted.
To help their patients overcome their addiction, doctors would perscribe them with medication often containing other highly addictive drugs.
Patients would often get rid of an addiction - by getting addicted to something else.
Mental Illness
Victims of mental illness were thought to be depressed or emotionally disturbed
These unfortunate people were often treated disrespectully and hidden away by their family, as they were thought of as an embarassment
Lobotomy was introduced in the early 1930s
The prohibition of alcohol
The Eighteenth Amendment took effect in 1920, prohibiting alcoholic beverages in the United States
Doctors could prescribe their patients for whiskey or wine
References to medication, illness, drugs and addiction in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird
common diseases and medications
"Cannabis indica is one of the best additions to cough mixtures that we possess, as it quiets the tickling in the throat, and yet does not constipate or depress the system as does morphine."

A Text-Book Of Practical Therapeutics,
by Hobart Hare
(Source: antiquecannabisbook.com)
The doctors' "healthy" replacements -
Laxitive from the era (contains cannabis)
Advertisements (1890s - 1930s)
Millions of patients demanded and received these prescriptions relatively easily
Much of the prescribed alcohol was not used for medical purposes
The prohibition ended in December, 1933
Thanks for listening!
The mad dog
(infected with rabbies)
Rabbies outburst from 1934-1935
All dogs would be muzzled
All dogs were to be kept inside their owners' properties
Rabbies vaccines that could be administered to dogs were not yet invented
Uncle Jack, Atticus's brother, is a doctor
He studied in medicine
The Ewell family, like many others in the 1930s, are too poor to call a doctor when Mayella Ewell is raped
The reader assumes, however, that this might not have been the main reason why Mayella was not checked
John Hale Finch (Uncle Jack)
The Ewell family
Doctors and availability
Dolphus Raymond
Dolphus Raymond is rumored to be an alcoholic
He would have been very poorly looked upon by the Maycomb community because of this
The prohibition of alcohol had only very recently ended in the US (or might even have still been in place)
Americans were still used to looking down at those who drank, even moderately
Arthur (Boo) Radley
Clues and symptoms in the novel
To Kill a Mockingbird
bring up the possibility that Boo Radley is mentally handicapped
Boo Radley is treated as mental illness victims would have been treated in the 1930s
As a young adult, he was forced inside and isolated from the Maycomb community
His family was embarassed by his behaviour (typical for the time) and probably refused to get him medical help (as this would be shameful)
Boo Radley is made fun of by his neighbours (they are not brought up to understand and respect mental illness)
Mrs Dubose
Mrs Dubose is a close example of the typical Morphine addict in the 1930s
She was perscribed medical morphine by her doctor, and became addicted
Unlike most morphine addicts, she understood her addiction and was able to quit
"-To induce sedation, inflict two quick shocks to the head.
-Roll back one of the patients’ eyelids.
-Insert a device, 2/3 the size of a pencil, through the upper eyelid into the patients’ head.
-Guided by the markings indicating depth, tap the device with a hammer into the patients’ head/ frontal lobe.
-After the appropriate depth is achieved, manipulate the device back and forth in a swiping motion within the patient’s head."

From Kimberly Leupo's
The History of Mental Illness
Trans-Orbital Lobotomy - How To
Before / after
The original lobotomy procedure consisted of a very delicate and time-consuming operation that separated the neural passages at the front of the brain from those at the back of the brain
This surgery would result in the patient forgetting their depressive tendencies
A few years later, Dr Walter J. Freeman discovered an easier lobotomy procedure, trans-orbital lobotomy
Full transcript