The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1855 Monday, 2 October 2000.
Date: Monday, 2 Oct 2000 15:21:16 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Physics (SHK 11.1815)
Comment: Paris' Poor Physics (SHK 11.1815)
>> A great deal of Elizabethan science seems painfully wrong, like humoral
>> medicine, for
>> instance. What is interesting here is that while the theory is
>> specious, the practice is absolutely right.
>A semi-rhetorical question: What part of the practice of humoral
>medicine was absolutely right? Blood letting to correct sanguinity?
One doesn't see acute congestive heart failure as frequently as formerly
(at least into the sixth or seventh decade of the twentieth century)
because antibiotics have made rheumatic fever and its cardiac
But there are other causes of this potentially fatal condition. So if
you happen to be in a place remote from medical care and your companion
is out of his digoxin, is struck with a condition of extreme difficulty
in breathing, a rapid and irregular pulse (implying that his pacemaker
has given out), his neck veins swollen, his face engorged and blue,
putting your ear to his chest revealing bubbling sounds as he breathes,
opening the vein on the palmar side of the elbow and removing a pint of
blood may save his life. You might first try putting tourniquets on
three of his limbs, and rotating them (from limb to limb, as in crop
rotation) every 10 or 15 minutes, but don't wait to long for relief to
appear before resorting to bloodletting.
Blood letting is no laughing matter.