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The barber surgeon was one of the most common European medical practitioners of the Middle Ages — generally charged with looking after soldiers during or after a battle. In this era, surgery was not generally conducted by physicians but by barbers (who had a sharp-bladed razor as an indispensable tool of their profession). In the Middle Ages in Europe barbers would be expected to do anything from cutting hair to amputating limbs. Mortality of surgery at the time was quite high due to loss of blood and infection. Doctors of the Middle Ages thought that taking blood would help cure the patient of sickness so the barber would apply leeches to the patient. Physicians tended to be academics, working in universities, and mostly dealt with patients as an observer or a consultant. They considered surgery to be beneath them.
They often took up residence in castles where they also provided medical assistance to the wealthy.Read more...
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