It’s easy to look back at medieval medical practices and wonder how they ever thought it would work. Theories about the four bodily humors may seem quaint in retrospect, but given the way medical knowledge and technology evolves, it’s almost certain future generations will look back at medicine in our time and similarly wonder what we were thinking.
So which controversial medical treatments are still in practice? Here’s a look at a few.
1. Removing Part of the Skull to Relieve Pressure in the Brain
As WebMD notes, a craniectomy for patients suffering from brain swelling can save a person’s life, but also leave them permanently disabled. A recent study found that the procedure “can drastically reduce risk of death, with about 30 percent of patients dying following the procedure compared to 52 percent of those treated with standard medical care,” but at the same time, “people treated with a craniectomy were three times more likely to wind up in a vegetative state … and often were as likely to suffer long-term disabilities as patients receiving standard medical care.”
2. Chiropractic Treatments
It’s a running theme — among non-chiropractors of course — that chiropractors aren’t medical doctors. And as a recent Pain Science article noted, “The concepts of chiropractic are not based on solid science and its therapeutic value has not been demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt.” Which is not to say chiropractic treatments don’t work, just that their scientific basis hasn’t been established.
3. Electroshock Therapy
Ernest Hemingway blamed it for his memory loss and diminishing writing ability late in his life. According to Live Science, “Today, the therapy is safer, because patients receive anesthesia and electricity doses are much more controlled … Still, the treatment can impair short-term memory and, in rare cases, cause heart problems.”
4. Leech Therapy
If you thought doctors stopped applying leeches to patients in the dark ages, think again. Heathline notes that leech therapy is making a comeback, treating “nervous system abnormalities, dental problems, skin diseases, and infections.” Even Demi Moore thinks so.
5. Maggot Therapy
Battlefield surgeons first started to notice that injured soldiers would heal more quickly in the field if flies laid eggs in their wounds. Later studies revealed that fly larvae “secrete digestive enzymes that can dissolve the wound’s dead and infected tissue, a process known as debridement.” Even though the FDA cleared maggots for medical use in 2004, it doesn’t sound all that appealing.
If you have been injured by a medical procedure, you may be able to seek compensation through a medical malpractice claim. Contact a personal injury lawyer today to find out if you have a case.
- Have an injury claim? Get matched with a local attorney. (Consumer Injury)
- 5 Signs You May Need a Medical Malpractice Attorney (FindLaw’s Injured)
- Should Doctors Have to Tell Patients If They’re on Probation? (FindLaw’s Injured)
- Can You Sue a Doctor for Lying? (FindLaw’s Injured)