Medicine in the Old West

A History, 1850–1900


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SKU: 9780786446230 Categories: , , , ,

About the Book

The healing arts as practiced in the Old West often meant the difference between life and death for American pioneers. Whether the challenge was sickness, an Indian arrow, a gunshot wound, or a fall from a horse, a pioneer in the western territories required care for medical emergencies, but often had to make do until a doctor could be found. This historical overview addresses the perils to health that were present during the expansion of the American frontier, and the methods used by doctors to treat and overcome them. Numerous black and white photographs are provided, as well as a glossary of medical terms. Appendices list commonly used drugs and typical surgical instruments from the 1850–1900 era.

About the Author(s)

Jeremy Agnew, a biomedical electronics consultant, holds a Ph.D. in engineering and has been involved in the design and manufacture of medical devices for more than 30 years. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and has written several books on the Old West.

Bibliographic Details

Jeremy Agnew
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 264
Bibliographic Info: 88 photos, glossary, appendices, notes, chronology, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4623-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5603-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Chronology of Medical Developments in the Old West      ix

Preface      1

1. Medicine from Mid-Century      3

2. Doctors and Healers      19

3. Filthy Towns and Filthy People      38

4. Common Diseases      59

5. Unmentionable Diseases      83

6. Healing with Drugs      98

7. Folk Remedies      118

8. From Sawbones to Surgeon      129

9. The Hazards of Western Industry      149

10. Patent Medicines      181

11. Dental and Eye Care      201

12. American Indian Healing      212

Afterword      224

Glossary      227

Appendix A: Common Drugs, 1850–1900      231

Appendix B: Typical Surgical Instrument Kit      234

Notes      237

Bibliography      245

Index      249

Book Reviews & Awards

“a solid historical overview…deserves the highest recommendation”—Midwest Book Review; “a valuable contribution to the history of medicine in the Old West”—Wild West History Journal.