In the course of 10 pictures, we're going to make you feel way better about the fact that you weren't born 100 years earlier. Because we're telling you right now, medicine used to be terrifying. And we're not just talking about the fact that it took a really long time to convince doctors to wash their hands before surgery. We're talking about walking into a hospital and seeing things like ...
Wait, what the hell? These are supposed to be old medical photos -- we thought it was going to be like antique stethoscopes and stuff. So why does this guy have alien tentacles growing out of his goddamned mouth? And why doesn't he seem more upset about it?
It's because he's getting a new face. What you are actually looking at is a pedicle graft, a procedure developed by Dr. Harold Gillies to treat disfigured soldiers during World War I, back when skin grafts and reconstructive plastic surgery had about a zero percent success rate. First, a flap of skin from an unaffected area of the patient's body was sewn into a tube and temporarily grafted to wherever the new body part was needed:
You just have to look like a Seussian horror elephant for a month or so.
The tube maintained a blood supply to the grafted area, which dramatically decreased the chance of rejection and/or infection while simultaneously increasing the number of children that would never come near you ever again.
Despite the "before" pictures having all the grace and subtlety of Eli Roth, the "after" photos of Gillies' procedure are strikingly impressive, especially considering he came up with it almost a hundred freaking years ago. Patients would go from huge gaping hole in their face, to the grotesque sewn-on graft ...
This guy's potential employers are basically limited to Sauron or Gringotts.
... to pretty much looking normal again:
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This photo is one of those rare situations where "UFO cult induction ritual" is the best case scenario. When you see a ring of mostly nude children holding hands in a darkened room around an alien glow, do you automatically hear gothic chanting in your mind? Or is it just us?
They're actually standing around a sun lamp. Starting in the late 1800s, kids who suffered from lupus and tuberculosis were sent to hospitals and clinics to receive heliotherapy to treat it. The children's skin produced vitamin D in response to the light, and as a result they were better able to fight off TB and other bacterial infections, as well as seriously alarm any child welfare worker that happened to catch a glimpse of the treatment.
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"Children, meet the Molesto-Tron 3000"