Both progress and the passage of time are responsible for polysyllabic names for the flu and normal office hours for the medical profession. When you compare today's physician with his historical counterpart, the country doctor of days gone by, his profession may have changed due to technological advances, but it still remains demanding.
In a documentary regarding an urban city, a physician explains what life was like for area doctors in previous years. Interestingly, the first white man to arrive in the area was a doctor. At that moment, the doctor was passing through in order to check out the vicinity. Of course, he didn't find enough customers to support a practice, so he returned to his home where the larger population allowed him to have a lucrative practice.
At the time several physicians were located in the area, but they found it difficult to eek out a living from the sparsely populated country as money was in short supply. They gave up their practices when the Civil War broke out and then left the area. In the nineteenth century, doctors of the area were labeled the greatest unheralded heroes of all time. In the day, a younger man showed great courage when he began to learn medicine. Overall, it was an incredibly harsh job, pay was uncertain, and there were no clocks or calendars to be followed. Although there were a few appreciated patients who could afford to pay their medical bills, many more existed who could not.
Rarely did a night pass without a doctor receiving a sick call in the middle of the night. The still of the night would be broken for physician as well as his neighbors, by frantic friends and relatives seeking help for their loved one. In any weather, a doctor would gather his horse and buggy to tend to the ill, despite his own need for sleep.
Sometimes, early doctors didn't receive payment in coins for the work they did. Frequently, the patients had to settle their debt with corn or other produce or by performing labor for the doctor. Therefore, to supplement their meager earnings, many doctors created and sold their own brand of medical concoctions. This respective physician proved to be such an individual.
An alternate physician who possessed numerous degrees and post graduate awards, marketed, vended, and made various treatments in the days when ethics proved to be more relaxed. His neuralgia and headaches remedies found a fair amount of takers. At a price of three doses for ten cents, the client was promised that his problem would go away in about five to 20 minutes.
There were physicians who obtained income by starting their own drug stores. A doctor started the first pharmacy in the city and put it right downtown. Once this first one sprouted up, three more doctors followed suit and opened competing drugstores. Eventually, the city had its first hospital, and physicians enjoyed much better working conditions, which led to more hospital construction. When better medical facilities became available with the construction of hospitals, the doctor's code of conduct and professional knowledge were to increase accordingly.
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