Aug 8, 2014

If You Think ‘The Knick’ Patients Have it Bad … Go Back 50 Years

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“[A] pauper in the almshouse is now rendered more comfortable and is cared for better after an operation than was a king but 50 years ago.” -J. Chalmers Dacosta, M.D, 1899

Steven Soderbergh’s newest project is The Knick, a medical drama that gives us a harrowing look at what life was like in a 1900s hospital. To the 21st watching this show, the medical and surgical practices of the 1900s will seem harrowing, painful, barbaric and backwards.

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But to the doctors and patients of the 1850s, The Knick, premiering at 10 p.m. on Cinemax, would have been a Utopian vision of an unimaginable future. The second half of the 19th Century’s innovations gave us a platform for what we now enjoy as modern medicine — but it was a platform slick with blood, tears … and pus. Read more…

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