Medieval Surgery – An Insight

 

Medieval Surgery is a featured Workshop at the Abbey Medieval Festival.  For your pleasure and interest we are featuring our latest guest blogger!

Medieval Doctor’s Journal
by Magister Mathieu medicus

Eve of feast day of St Lazarus

 

Yes! I made it through to the finals! Photo by Sheldrick

It’s been a trying day for me with only a few weeks to go before the great tournament, and so many new visitors to the city. The young knights have been showing off with the excitement, as expected, with a few unfortunate injuries occurring.

 

 

Clubbing - Medieval Style. Photo by N Lundie

One unlucky French squire was struck hard upon his head but fortunately I was able to diagnose, as described by Avicenna, that he had no hidden fractures and so was not required to make incision into his head. Instead I treated him with a poultice of absinthe, vinegar, artemisia, wild celery, onions, rue and cumin, which are mixed in lard and flour and applied to the affected part. He should recover well, God willing.

I visited Sir Barnard again this morning, to see how his leg was healing. He was kicked by a horse in his leg, over 4 months ago, which became infected and was weeping from many places. Every time one would close, another would open in a different place. I was called to see him and ordered his servants remove all the previous ointments and only wash his leg with very strong vinegar every day. By this, all the cuts are now healed, and he has recovered enough that he shall be riding with the King again within a week, much to the annoyance of many local emirs!

 

I'm OK, really! Photo by Ivey

My last visit was for a local Frankish sergeant who had been shot in the neck whilst defending a trading caravan from bandits. I removed the arrow head at once and found a vein had been cut. I then proceed to close the injured vessel with sutures above and below the site and then inserted a cloth strip moistened with eggwhite into the wound. I instructed his friends to change the plaster every day until the purulent drainage ceases, and to only let him eat thin clear broth until then.

I need to check on the apothecary again this evening, as I have need of many items that are brought in by traders from abroad, and he has promised me that he has new shipments of frankincense and even some herbs that do not grow well nearby.
My day will finish with overseeing my assistants in making various powders I will need for treating the wounds which will surely come when the tournament begins!

 

Guest Blogger:  Michelle Barton

{Michelle Barton, a Brisbane local, has been re-enacting medieval life since 1993, ranging from steel combat in 12th mail armour to learning the frustrating art of card weaving. She is also a veterinarian of over 15 years experience, so an interest in medieval medicine and surgery, and trying to find the truth from the myth, was always guaranteed. Her medieval medical texts are starting to rival the numbers of veterinary texts in her house! Presenting this information to others in a fun and engaging manner is an added bonus. }

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