Medical Practices During The 1800s And Early 1900s

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Medicine is one of the most impactful advantages of modern-day society. Today, medicine consists of vaccines, surgeries, and yearly doctor visits. However, medical practices have existed in very different ways in each period. One of the significant shifting moments occurred during the period of the 1800s to the early 1900s. This hundred-year span marked the start of the exponential growth of medicine and medical operations. There were substantial medical developments, such as the creation of antiseptics and the X-Ray machine. While these developments create better medical practices and save lives, they have highlighted the divide between the classes, showcasing that the wealthy upper class was the primary beneficiary of these advancements. …show more content…

There was no questioning during the 1800s and early 1900s, as even then, doctors were broadly more educated than the average person. Only 3.0% of the American population aged 18-21 attended college during 1890, while 13% was illiterate (Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History). Doctors during this time largely came from privileged and wealthy backgrounds. They had the money that was needed to afford university. Many people in the period struggled to get by as money was often hard to come by. A laborer's average hourly wage rate in 1890 was as low as $0.1370 (Laborers' Average Hourly Rate of Wages, Weighted for United States). Many workers worked around seventy hours a week, resulting in around $9.59 (Hours of Work in U.S. History). Colleges like Georgetown College, later Georgetown University, cost around $300 per year for tuition, board, and lodging (History of College Tuition: The Cost of College Tuition In the Late 1800s). For average workers trying to get by, paying such prices for further education was not a likely option. Food expenditures in 1890 included 15.2 cents per pound for a ham, 6.8 cents per quart of milk, and 25.5 cents per pound of butter (RETAIL PRICES 1890 TO 1925). A typical shopping trip could take a fair chunk out of the pocket of a worker, thus making it much harder to afford to pay for college. Doctors were able to avoid making such low wages due to their wealthy backgrounds and could, therefore, successfully attend college while also supporting themselves. This privilege hints at the idea that medical care is often only available to the upper classes, leaving the working class and people experiencing poverty with little access to medical

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