Bloodletting Essay

1753 Words 8 Pages
Although bloodletting is now recognized as dangerous and misleading tradition, it carries a deep and interesting history that deserves to be acknowledged. Bloodletting is the purposeful draining of blood for various medical reasons. Throughout history, the practice has been advised for acne, asthma, cancer, cholera, coma, convulsions, diabetes, epilepsy, gangrene, gout, herpes, indigestion, inflammation prevention, insanity, jaundice, leprosy, plague, pneumonia, scurvy, smallpox, stroke, tetanus, tuberculosis, nosebleeds, and even excessive menstruation. The exercise of this concept was carried out in one of multiple different ways. The first of which, was the phlebotomy or venesection, often referred to as ‘breathing a vein’. This method involved …show more content…
He believed that each of the four humors had a direct pairing with an individual temperament. He theorized that an excess of black bile correlated with feelings of melancholy and gloom, an excess of phlegm correlated with feeling phlegmatic or calm, an excess of yellow bile correlated with choleric or energy, and an excess of blood correlated with sanguine or cheer. While many thought that blood was a byproduct of humans consuming food, Galen theorized that blood is created to be used up by the different organs and systems in our bodies. He supposed that if a person was having pains in a specific location, it meant that their body was making more blood than their body was able to use, and the surplus blood was gathering and settling in the location of the pain. Bases on this idea, Galen recommended that doctors removed the amount of blood equal to the amount believed to reside in watever limb that was to be removed. This theory was widely accepted until William Harvey’s explanation depicting the heart as a pump that circulates blood throughout the body in his book, De Montu Cordis (On the Motion of the Heart and the Blood). Galen also argued that blood was the most dominant of the four humors, so it needed to be checked and removed often, in order to keep the body in balance. The amount of blood that was let out each time and the location the incision …show more content…
Some people refer to this implementation as venipuncture, or the modern phlebotomy. Though the primitive versions of this practice have proven to be hazardous and inadequate, there have been a few modern applications of the custom. When carried out in a safe, sanitary, and precise manner, doctors have been able to use the expulsion of blood to relive patients with high blood pressure, fluid build up from heart failure, and hemochromatosis. Hemochromatosis, or a hereditary predisposition to iron overload in the blood, often goes hand in hand with an overload of red blood cells. When these two forces are paired, it can often lead to the creation of dangerous and life threatening blood clots. Purposefully removing blood from the bodies of people with hemochromatosis can be very beneficial in order for the blood to thin out

Related Documents

Related Topics