15 July 2013

Medical care then and now! How it has changed ... and, how our understanding gives us better insight into our ancestors

I’ve just finished watching the TV series London Hospital (via Amazon.com – in the UK when broadcast on the BBC it was called Casualty 1906 et al).  I found it fascinating.

Even more so was that it was based on hospital records, newspaper articles of the day and personal journals.  Though fictional, it was based on historical records!

As I watched the show, some facets of early 1900s medicine I was familiar with and then there were others that were new to me.

It was very eye opening in terms of how much medical treatment has changed over the last century.  That is the health care my ancestors received!

Have you watched a TV series which you found to have a particular relevance to your ancestors in terms of what life was “truly” like?

As genealogists we strive to learn not just the details about our own ancestors and to gain some insight into their lives!  I also couldn’t help think, as I was watching, that as I found some of the medical procedures from the early 1900s somewhat barbaric, I suspect that our descendants will think the same of some of our current medical care.

Editor’s Note:  Upfront with NGS did a related post on published fiction, Historical fiction often involves a LOT of history and genealogy research!
Editor’s Note:  Upfront with NGS has done related posts on medical topics:

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  1. Really nice read, sheds a lot on how far we have come but also how far we need to go. Medical supplies are a big part of helping people and getting more people the access they need will really help

  2. PBS and The History Channel have aired a few series about actually living "in the day", including: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/frontierhouse/project/index.html
    I enjoyed watching a few episodes until a family member or two couldn't handle the "hardships" and whined about going back to the modern day.

    List from http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HistoricalReCreation:

    Live-Action TV
    - The 1900 House (1999) (UK; living in historical conditions. Also shown on PBS)
    - Pioneer Quest: A Year in the Real West (2000) (Canada)
    - The 1940s House (2001) (UK)
    - 'The Edwardian Country House' aka Manor House (2002)
    - Frontier House (2002) (US; PBS show set in the American frontier of 1883)
    - Quest for the Bay (2002) (Canada)
    - The Ship (2002) (UK)
    - Klondike: The Quest for Gold (2003) (Canada)
    - Colonial House (2004) (US; PBS show set in the American frontier of 1628)
    - Regency House Party (2004) (UK)
    - Warrior Challenge (2004) (US)
    - Le Moyen 1903 (2003) (Switzerland/TSR)
    - That'll teach 'Em (2003, 2004, 2006) (UK; 1950's schooling)
    - Texas Ranch House (2006) (US; PBS show set in the Texas frontier of 1867)
    - Living In The Past (1978) (UK, BBC show set in an Iron Age village...)
    - Surviving the Iron Age (2001) (UK, remake of the above, but with less historic accuracy)
    - Evacuation (2006) (UK; CBBC show with City Mouse kids sent to WWII countryside)