A Science Odyssey Doctor over Time
drawing of black bag Go directly to Doctor Over Time activity
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It didn't really matter what ailed you. If you were sick in 1900, your doctor couldn't do much more than provide comfort until your body defeated the illness, or until the illness defeated you. The doctor had a few goodies in his little black bag, though: morphine and aspirin to ease pain, quinine to fight off malaria, smallpox vaccine, and digitalis for heart failure.

How that black bag has grown in the past century! There are medicines and treatments for almost every illness known to man. Today's doctors draw upon a vast arsenal of drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic tools that could not even be dreamed of in 1900.

This activity shows how doctors over this century would have handled the same afflictions. All you have to do is complain to the doctor, then see how he or she responds.

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