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Modern Day Plague Doctors




When The Plague raged through Europe in the middle ages, plague doctors were sent to tend to the sick. The difference between plague doctors and general practitioners was that plague doctors were either very young doctors looking to establish themselves or not doctors at all! In one case, a plague doctor in Italy was a fruit salesman without any prior medical experience.


When visiting the sick, the plague doctor wore a large cloak and a beak-like mask. Inside the mask, herbs and spices were placed to reduce the perceived risk of the doctor catching the plague. The doctors carried a cane so that they could examine the sick without a need to physically touch them. 


People were dying. As the Bubonic Plague took hold of the body, pus filled boils grew on the skin that eventually caused gangrene or sepsis. To treat them, plague doctors rubbed onions on the boils or even resorted to bloodletting in the form of leeches.


Of course, by today’s standards none of these treatments were ever going to work. We know now that the Bubonic Plague was transmitted by infected ticks carried by rats as well as coughs and sneezes. It seems like a very strange course of action, even by the standards of the middle ages. I can’t help but notice that society’s view of odd treatments still seems to remain the same. Given my further research into Autism and how it affects others like me, I cant help but marvel at some of the treatments on offer for Autistic people.


I have never been the biggest fan of “alternative” therapies or pseudo sciences but I know people have gained a lot of benefit from them. Given the nature of my logically wired brain, I can only support treatments and therapies that are peer reviewed and supported by actual science. Many alternative therapists would argue that their treatment is scientifically sound. Stop and think! If one has to argue the validity of their science, does that not automatically weaken their argument? I haven’t heard anyone dispute the validity of medical psychiatry and psychotherapy. Alternative therapies may help ease the mind in the very short term but what is the verdict on the long term? I’m not entirely sure.


When alternative therapists are seeking clients and your hard earned money, ask yourself, is this a plague doctor?

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