The Healers

A History of Medicine in Scotland

By David Hamilton

Format: Paperback

"First published in 1981 by Canongate ..."--T.p. verso.

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Birlinn Limited

Birlinn publishes mostly non-fiction books, ranging from biography to history, military history and Scottish interest. Their imprints, Polygon Books, Arena Sport Books and John Donald Books, publish a wide variety of genres including culture, literary fiction, poetry and sports.

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It is no accident that the doctor on board the pioneering missions of Star Trek was known as Scotty! Scotland has had a distinguished reputation for the quality of its doctors and nurses since earliest times. During the eighteenth century the first broadly-based education for physicians and surgeons was established in Scotland, and throughout the growth of the British Empire, Scottish doctors came to dominate medical practice and teaching, not only in Britain and the Colonies, but in much of the Americas and even Russia. How this came about is a fascinating story in itself. Equally interesting is the way medicine in Scotland developed from the early efforts of holy men and folk healers, who used charms and herbs to heal the sick. With the advent of more scientific methods the great achievements of figures such as the Monros, Robert Liston and James Syme, and those of the internationally famous Joseph Lister, David Livingstone and James Young Simpson transformed health care, not just in Scotland, but worldwide. All this is described in the new edition of David Hamilton's best-selling The Healers.


Aimed at the non-specialist reader, it ranges over a dramatic and colourful history of leprosy and plagues, cholera and typhoid, anatomy and bodysnatching, and the swashbuckling surgery before anaesthesia which had to be performed in a matter of minutes to spare the patient's suffering. An extensive new introduction is included in this edition bringing it up to the present day and looking forward to the future of medicine in Scotland. Though not as far into the future as Star Trek...

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Paperback
Imprint Birlinn Limited
Publication Date 6 Oct 2003
ISBN 9781841830513
Number of Pages 336

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