By Helen Dingwall
Together with advancements in medication, surgical procedure, and substitute medication in terms of the altering financial and social heritage, the writer deals a brand new synthesis of medication and society in Scotland.
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Additional resources for A history of Scottish medicine: themes and influences
What this evidence provides is an insight – limited but none the less useful – into the experiences of the sick and the traveller; the common diseases, the herbal remedies, and the sheer variety of the latter. This was, clearly, an important site, set strategically on an important overland route across what would become, eventually, the border between Scotland and England. 4 The medieval Scottish medical practitioner or surgeon, though not qualified formally in medicine or surgery, did offer a service which was separate from, if not greatly different from, lay practice in the period.
The problem for the secular medical and surgical practitioners was that there were two signposts at the crossroads, the high road leading to academically trained physicians and the (perceived by physicians at least) low road of practical apprenticeship towards qualification as a master surgeon. The view that it was no longer part of the responsibilities of religious orders to give invasive medical treatment was, in the long term, to allow for the liberation of medicine. It is perhaps not too outrageous or overly Whiggish to claim that enlightenment in medical terms started in 1163, rather than in the second half of the eighteenth century with the usually capitalised version of the term.
12 In later periods there would be concerted political campaigns against witchcraft, but there is good evidence to confirm that belief in, and treatment in terms of, the supernatural, were widespread and would continue to be so long after the end of the medieval period. MEDICINE IN MEDIEVAL SCOTLAND 43 SECULARISATION – NEW SPHERES? One of the major, long-term factors in the emergence of orthodox Scottish medicine as a separate sphere of predominantly professional practice and influence was the separation of the learning and practice of medicine from a number of spheres to which they had been linked intimately for many centuries.