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Medics, Doctors, and Nurses › Articles

Medicine has come a long way over the course of recorded history. Medics, doctors and nurses used to prescribe narcotics as treatment. Today we rely on these practitioners for identifying symptoms and diagnosing treatments for aliments as mundane as cold sores to issues as serious as ulcers and cancer.

Radium water, cough syrup made of alcohol, marijuana, and morphine, cocaine toothache drops for children, snake oil - medicine has changed quite a bit in the past 100 years or so, as has the way that medical professionals are educated. But the ethics of the people who practice medicine haven't changed since the 5th century BCE. The Hippocratic Oath is still taken by medical practictioners and says in part:
"I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.
I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.
I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God."


In the U.S., Elizabeth Blackwell became the first formally educated female physician in the 1850's. And both men and women have practiced the medical arts throughout history; Clara Barton, Florence Nightingale, Jonas Salk, Albert Schweitzer, Patch Adams, your own doctor, the nurse who gives you medicine, and the ambulance driver who saves your life - all of these and more have helped each of us throughout our lives. These are their photos and the photos of the instruments and medicine that they have used.