Over the passing years progress within the medical profession has brought us new polysyllabic names for everything from regular office hours to the flu. While today’s medical practitioners continue to have a heavy workload, they have many advantages over their counterparts of times past.
A real-life film that is centered around life in a metropolitan area, a physician talks about what doctors were required to do back in the day. He recounts how a doctor became the first non-Native American to inhabit his city. At the time, the doctor had come to the area to see if this community would be a good place to start a practice. He returned to his successful and money-making medical practice after he realized how few patients would be available in such an area.
At that moment, there were lots of doctors around, but it was difficult to make much profit from a country without many inhabitants or much money. When the Civil War broke out, they packed their medical bags and left for wartime hospitals. Without a doubt, doctors in the 1800s were some of the bravest and most dedicated individuals alive. In that era, the study of medicine demanded of those men who pursued it was not an easy path. Overall, it was an incredibly harsh job, pay was uncertain, and there were no clocks or calendars to be followed. Even though some patients did pay their bills, the majority of them did not pay their doctors.
Rarely did a night pass without a doctor receiving a sick call in the middle of the night. The stamping of feet on his front porch and furious beating on the door would awaken the poor doctor and his sleepy neighbors. Then, once he hitched up a horse or two to the buggy, the sleepy doctor would set out on a chilly trek outside of the area.
Those doctors were not always paid in silver coin for their treatments. Often, patients were forced to pay their bills using corn or other produce, or by doing work for the doctor. In order to supplement their meager earnings, some doctors sold homemade medicines out of their homes. This renegade doctor was one of those physicians.
Before the days of strict government regulations, there were particularly well-educated physicians who set their own ethics aside to brew up homemade potions and cures. He had a neuralgia and headache medicine that seemed to work well. For 10 cents, a patient would get 3 doses and a guarantee that the headache would go away in no more than 20 minutes.
There were physicians who obtained income by starting their own drug stores. One doctor founded the first drugstore, opening it on the main street of the city. Seeing how successful it was, three additional doctors opened up their proprietary drug stores as well. When the first hospital opened in the area, physicians began to experience conditions which were much better, and after that additional hospitals were built. When better medical facilities became available with the construction of hospitals, the doctor’s code of conduct and professional knowledge were to increase accordingly.