ADVANTAGES

While heated battles were waged by American orthodox medicine against alternative practitioners from the 1840s onward, events in Europe would initiate big changes in medical practice. Although Semmelweis endured many attacks for his work, as is typical for medical pioneers, there was great scientific ferment in Europe. Science and industry helped transform the West in the 1800s, and medicine was not immune to its march. Paris, the hotbed of political revolution, became the center of a revolution in Western medicine in the early 19th century. Hospitals became laboratories in France, and the science of pathology was established, with autopsy results compared to bedside diagnoses. The Enlightenment ideals of empirical investigation took root in medical research, although that was relative. Medical students flocked from across the West to Paris to learn the new medicine. In Germany, laboratory science began its rise, partly due to improvements in microscopes, and by 1850, laboratory science was an important part of medical research, which used chemistry, dissection, vivisection, microscopes, and other empirical techniques to learn about life and nature.

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