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Medieval Doctors Who Need To Explain Themselves

The Medieval times are filled with rich history and evolution. Take the medical industry, for example, medieval doctors helped revolutionize it and pave the way for the advancements we have today.

However, because those times were often filled with chaos, corruption, and lack of resources, it’s no surprise that many of these medieval doctors did things that we would frown upon in today’s society.

Below you will find scenarios where medieval doctors would have to explain themselves.

1. The patients in this picture look like they’re in severe pain (and they are! This is a depiction of the Bubonic Plague, found in a German language Bible from 1411 in Toggenburg, Switzerland). The doctor, however, is either praying for the patients, or he’s throwing in the towel and he’s just done with everything and ready to switch careers. 

2. You know that old saying ‘X marks the spot’? Well, in this picture, it looks like the doctor has become the pirate and wants to find out if there is any hidden treasure inside. I wonder if he will find any treasure, and will the patient survive the surgery to split it? It’s from the Medieval times, so this patient probably didn’t survive getting turned into an Xbox.

3. This doctor looks like he would be amazing at carving pumpkins. I guess in medieval days, you start with carving a human’s head before you work your way up to pumpkins. It makes sense! Based on this picture alone, medieval heads didn’t bleed at all so they were perfect for practicing your carving skills! God, don’t you just love living in the 21st century?

4. This picture doesn’t take place in the medieval times, but it does take place in a time where doctors would be drunk while performing a diagnosis on their patients. I mean, if he’s able to pick up a telephone and dial a number, I’m sure he’s perfectly capable of conducting surgery. In addition, drinking does rhyme with thinking, and doctors do need to think when performing surgery.

5. We’ve all been to the dentist. But I can assure you going to the dentist in the medieval times would be quite the adventure. If you were required to have a tooth removed, chances are the dentist did not have any anesthesia and would literally just rip the tooth out of your mouth. Or, if you want to interpret this illustration literally, he’d use some kind of giant tooth serpent to pull them out.

British Library

6. When you’ve had a long night of drinking and the doctor does not want to get any vomit on his new robe, but he also wants to be a supportive medical professional so he claps and dances while you puke, just so you don’t feel too self-conscious. What did he even eat? Blonde hair?

7. In today’s medical field, surgeons have many assistants. If you’ve seen a surgery room, you’ll notice they have someone for every station and task. This picture tells me that in the medieval times, good help was hard to come by, so if the doctor needed assistance, he would just ask the closest group of drunk people for help. How did the human race survive centuries 14-18?

8. When you’re dying of the plague so the town sends the local healer and medicine woman to cut your hair and hope that maybe solves all your problems. Look on the bright side, you get a haircut and possibly, maybe, a cure: talk about killing two birds with one stone.

University of Cambridge

9. When you’re a saint with a literal halo around your head, but you still have tooth problems. I really hope the hands being tied were for safety purposes and not some disgusting fantasy the doctor has. Is this even a dental procedure? Or is it a torture method? Trick question: in medieval times, the two were one and the same.

10. When your doctor is operating and two other physicians are right next to you asking why his other patients did not survive this procedure. It looks like he’s way too confident poking holes into that guy’s skull and saying: “He’s fine, he’s just a little whiny baby! Don’t listen to his anguished howling.” Once again, thank your lucky stars that you were born in this century.

11. When your physician needs to heal you of some ailment, so he opens a literal hole in your veins and drains you until you pass out (a real medical procedure from those days, by the way! It was called bloodletting). I’m sure they always cured all the patients that were bloodlet! And by curing I mean bled them to literal death because that’s not how you cure diseases.

12. When you go to your doctor’s hut with a dislocated arm, and he says “this worked that one time, trust me!” while you’re standing there laughing but in pain. Today we know that popping a dislocated arm back in place works, but it makes you think: how many tries did it take a doctor who’d never done it before? Shudders.

13. When your doctor, who is supposed to be experienced in this field, pokes the wrong part of your head, making you see your life flash before your eyes. He probably only went in to have a wart removed, but ended up without his entire frontal lobe. Reminder: never complain about your doctor ever again.

Wikimedia Commons

14. When your doctor says let’s get that baby out, but all you’re concerned about is doing another pull-up off that chandelier. Is it me or were newborn babies the size of 5-year-olds back in medieval times? No wonder she looks like her soul left her body hours ago.

15. When your doctor asks you to peel his boiled egg so he can eat it after while he attempts to fix your eye by poking it. This poor guy doesn’t wanna be peeling a boiled egg or having his retina savaged by a metal stick. Or maybe the boiled egg is part of the cure? Who are we to say?

16. When your doctor says to you “Yup your urine tastes normal,” you have nothing to worry about. The best part of this picture is the relieved look on the man’s face and the way he’s holding the doctor’s hand with utmost trust. You know what? I’m gonna book an appointment with my family doctor just to remind myself that I’m lucky that I’ll never die of a fever.

17. When your doctor is trying to do a diagnosis while an epic battle is taking place right next to him. Talk about working under pressure! I hope that doctor got a raise after this. Well deserved. 

18. It’s time for your operation, take a knee and I’m just going to start cutting. How would you react if that’s how your doctor prepared to repair a compound fracture in your skull? Uh, doc, I swear you’re cutting too much skin. He only came to see you because he had a migraine.

19. In today’s day and age, wounds by knives or guns are treatable. But imagine you were this individual impaled by two giant arrows and you went up to the doctor and asked: “what can you do?” To me, it seems like the doctor is saying “sorry buddy by you’re on your own.”

British Library

20. To me, it looks like both doctors are looking at each other and asking “Did you just poke his brain?” Well, when you’re digging into a person’s head, I’m sure you’re bound to strike gold at some point. Bonus points to the generous artist who just had to draw the patient’s ripped abdomen. God bless.

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