Old Operating Theater-
I hate rats, and throughout my grade school career, I was taught that rats carry diseases. You would never touch, let alone consume a rat for your health or hunger. So it was very interesting to read that rats were used by practitioners to cure cough, cold, measles, fever, and even give your offspring healthy eyes in the first century AD. In the 2000 years since, rats are seen more as villains or vectors through which agents such as the bubonic plague can spread. In place of rats, we have synthetic medicine such as Theraflu, Tylenol, and Ibuprofen.
In addition to treating common colds, the conditions and treatment of patients during surgery has also changed. I read an excerpt from The Lancet medical journal in the museum that said anesthesia was considered more hazardous to the patients brain and lungs than it was beneficial. But in the 21 century, every surgery has anesthesia, including many outpatient surgeries. So these facts made me curious about the history of medical treatments for infectious and chronic diseases and how they have changed. I can't imagine a world in which I must brave a scalpel to my mouth (wisdom teeth), tonsils, stomach, or any part of my body because I have zero pain tolerance. It's interesting to see how the perceptions of specific medical treatments have changed over time and how they're practiced today.
I also saw a bottle of heroin displayed with instructions on how to administer this "medicine" to children. That sounds crazy, but given that over half of the death in London in 1730 were of children under the age of 12, it follows that their treatment was sub par because they were assumed to have the same diseases, and therefore, the same treatments as adults. I was glad to see that the Guy Hospital began to change this incorrect and lethal stigma surrounding children and opening their hospital to "incurable" patients.