A surgical demonstration presented within the original architecture of the old operating theatre of St. Thomas’s Hospital of 1822.
A Mad Hatter's Tea Party
With no anaesthesia to dull the pain and no antiseptics to stop infection, operations in the past were a terrible ordeal and many surgeries ended in the patient's death. However sometimes, a resilient and lucky patient with a daring surgeon could survive even the most experimental of operations!
Is it a girl or boy? How much did they weigh? How was the delivery? All of these questions are common on the birth of a baby today in the Western World. They assume that childbirth is not dangerous for the mother or baby. However, this has changed markedly over the past century which is a reflection of medical and social changes. In the UK, there was a steep decline in maternal mortality from the 1930s.
In this tour, the museum's resident researcher, Kirsty Chilton, will invite the public to take a visual tour through some of the most grizzly and terrifying surgical instruments ever designed and how they were used in the Georgian and Victorian Era. The surgical knives, the amputation saws, the trephines, and forceps are just a sample of objects used in the past and they will be presented live through our object handling collection.