Questions 4 Paper- June 2010 Q4-Study Sources D and E Which of Sources D or E is more useful to the historian who is investigating surgical practice in the 1870s? Both Sources D and E are useful to the historian who is investigating surgical practice in the 1870s, however only to a certain extent because both sources explain a few of the negatives and positives of surgical practice. In source D, it says that ‘it took too long to keep washing everything’ and how people who would think of new ideas in surgical practice were often regarded as ‘odd’.
This evidence shows us that surgical practice at the time may have been a more negative experience rather than a positive one. Source E, on the other hand, talks a little less broadly about surgical practice as it explains, like source D, ‘infection was as common as ever’ and talks about the transitions from one operating theatre to the next. However, sources D and E are only useful to a certain extent as both sources tell us only one aspect surrounding surgical practice when there were many others.
Both sources talk about infection in surgical practice and how it was an obstacle which mainly surrounds the negatives of surgery. This information is only useful to a certain extent as we are not told the positives of surgical practice and whether there were other factors that affected surgery at the time. Only one of the sources seem of reliable provenance as Source D is a book called History of Medicine written at a time further away from the 1870s than when source E was written.
Although Source D was written by someone who we can not tell had any medical experience, we understand that, this being a book based on Medicine as a whole, it would have been reliable and checked by other professionals. On the other hand, Source E was an account that was remembered by a man in surgical practice 56 years later and so surgical practice was changing immensely at the time and could have altered his opinion. It is also only an account of one person and could therefore be biased as others may think differently.
Overall, Source D mainly focuses on specific areas of surgical practice and tells us that surgical practice was tough as ‘it took too long to keep washing everything’ (being the equipment and other things that were used) and it also talks about how people who would come up with new ideas, would have their ideas rejected at first as they were regarded as ‘odd’. Source D also mentions Lister and his ideas about germs and how they were lso regarded as ‘odd’. From this we see that Surgical Practice was rough for many and that surgery in the 1870s was quite shallow as development and new ideas were pushed down. Source E on the other hand also had some facts such as ‘the building cost ? 600 000’ however, like source D, talked about how nothing changed and gave a method which was kept the same such as being ‘allowed to go straight from the post-modern room to work on the maternity ward’.
In Conclusion, looking at both sources and the reliability of the sources from the provenance of the sources, both source are useful to a historian investigating surgical practice in the 1870s, however, Source D seems more reliable and therefore more useful to the historian, as looking at the provenance, it is based in a book that many historians would have read and so would be more reliable than an account made by one person who could have had shallow views as they wouldn’t have many mixed opinions and so side with what they believed.
Q5. Study Sources A, F and G and use your own knowledge. ‘Lister’s antiseptic methods changed surgical practice in a short period of time. ’ How far do you agree with this statement? Use your own knowledge, Sources A, F and G and any other sources you find helpful to explain your answer. The Sources