Glad they don't do lobotomies anymore? Weirded out by the idea of giving kids cough syrup made with heroin? These medical practices, which were common in the twentieth century, scare the hell out of us now.
Which of our current medical procedures will humanity look back on and deem horrifying? Here are 10 practices guaranteed to shock your technologically advanced great-great-great grandchildren.
Top image from ilpadrino on Deviant Art.
10. Mobile oxygen tanks as treatment for COPD
Yes, let's tether elderly people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to a 15 pound tank of oxygen.
When they want to move around, the weakened individual needs to wheel the tank behind. This is horrible, bordering on barbaric to inflict on our population now. There will be a better way.
9. Waiting for someone to die to receive an organ transplant
Sign up for a used liver, wait on a list for years until some poor guy keels over and you win the lottery. Maybe the future will see us grow our own replacement organs in less than week. If home grown organs become the flying car and jet packs of the 22nd Century, we should have a less macabre way of creating alternative ones.
8. Coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG)
CABG is an extremely invasive heart surgery that relieves angina and reduces the chance of dying from heart disease, but it cracks your ribs and splays them open in the process (see the somewhat graphic image). The movement of the ribs is necessary at the moment to gain access to vital arteries, but less invasive techniques are in development.
7. Unscheduled Childbirth
Not sure the time and day your baby is going to be born? Trying to carry on a life while wondering if your water will break any minute? Families would benefit from a definite time and date for natural childbirth.
While one can schedule an induction or cesarean section; close, outpatient monitoring of hormone levels would give better insight into the exact moment a bundle of joy is coming.
Hooking a loved on up to a machine to filter body waste multiple times a week for 3-4 hour session – it's the medical scythe of the grim reaper. Long term dialysis for kidney disease is a band-aid approach, preserving life without increasing the quality of life.
Mechanical or tissue-grown kidneys, or, at the very least, outpatient nocturnal dialysis, will be common alternatives.
5. Mechanical Ventilation
The core of life support – keeping the lungs operating when your body no longer sustains this spontaneous act.
Sure, it keeps people alive, but it's the 22nd Century – pull the plug and get out a new body (or plastic and titanium container if we're posthuman by then) to download the persons' consciousness into and get them back to life.
4. Blood donation
Blood donation is not the most barbaric process (heck, you get cookies at the end), but it encourages many to give blood for educational reasons (a couple of bonus points at the end of the semester) as a supply line needs to be maintained. Our great-great-great-grandchildren will hopefully use a blood alternative instead of tubing and needles to transfer blood from a healthy individual.
3. An Endoscopic Sympathetic Block (ESB)
A number of psychosurgery procedures are frightening, but I chose ESB not for it sharing an acronym with my favorite Star Wars movie, but for it's recent reappearance as a surgical procedure to treat schizophrenia. An endoscopic sympathetic block prohibits the brain from regulating the heart, blood vessels, and other organics affected by emotion.
In an endoscopic sympathetic block, titanium clamps are attached to nerve tissue to the main sympathetic chain, cutting off impulse transmission. The clamping is reversible, but must be reversed quickly after the initial procedure to prevent permanent blockage. The strength of several emotions are often decreased or halted after this procedure, including arousal, fear, and general alertness.
2. Dental drilling
Not a fan of rubber coated fingers in your mouth, pulling, prysing, drilling? Enjoy the dust of your old teeth hitting the back of your tongue? I didn't think so.
Liquid enamel is already in development along with dental lasers, and if the 20th Century and the improvements brought about by fluoride treatment are any indication, our 22nd Century relatives might not fear a trip to the dentist or sit in the dental chair at all.
No, there is not an alternative at the moment, but it's rips one apart to watch their friends and relatives go through repeated rounds of chemotherapy to fight cancer.
Chemotherapy impacts all of the body's rapidly dividing cells, ravaging the digestive tract and bone marrow as it destroys cancer cells. Side effects like hair loss, general weakness, and immunosuppresssion often appear worse than the effects of cancer. I am glad chemotherapy exists, but I hope the 22nd Century finds a better way.
Images from CC sources, Invacare, The University of Pittsburgh, and Getty. Sources linked within the article.