There’s several different ways to feel good about your life, if you just try hard enough. One of these ways is by thanking your lucky stars you were born in a time where anesthesia exists and you don’t have to go through the troubles of literally watching and feeling doctors going through your insides during surgery. People in the old days didn’t have it as easy though, and their miseries were compounded by the terrifying instruments doctors used to treat them with!
Here are some of the scariest medical tools ever used!
1. Prostate Warmer
A 5 inch probe that was inserted into the rectum to warm the prostate
This might not be the ‘scariest’ tool in the regular sense of the term, but it sure is weird. Invented in 1918, the device consisted of a 4.25 inch probe which was plugged into the wall and then inserted into the rectum. It was said to “stimulate the abdominal brain”, whatever that means.
2. Stricture Divulsor
A rod that was inserted into the penis hole to dilate the urethra
We didn’t have the medicine to deal with several sexually transmitted diseases in the 1800s, so patients with extremely narrowed urethras due to disease had it real bad. Doctors would insert these long rods into the urethra through the tip of the penis and then expand the dull blades to dilate the urethra. I think I just puked in my mouth a little.
3. Tobacco Smoke Enema Kit
A tool to blow tobacco smoke into the anus for medical purposes
‘An insufflation of tobacco smoke into the rectum by enema’. That’s the online definition of a tobacco smoke enema, and they had the tools to do it in the 1700s. There was even a huge hoax of a woman coming back to life after being administered one of these. The doctor literally blew smoke up a dead woman’s butt.
4. Jugum Penis/ Spermatorrhoea Ring
A spiky penis ring to prevent masturbation
In the UK in the 1800s, they believed that masturbation and wet dreams were a symptom of a condition called “spermatorrhea” or “seminal weakness”. In order to prevent any night-time erections, men would be prescribed spiky penis traps.
5. Dental Key
A tool to extract teeth that caused immense pain and even led to jaw fractures
According to a study, this nasty thing caused more accidents and injuries than all other tooth extraction instruments before 1900 combined. It was used to slowly and painfully extract teeth and would often result in jaw fractures and soft tissue damage. The 1700s were not a good time to have bad teeth.
6. Tonsil Guillotine
A clasp to pull out the tonsils that caused extreme bleeding
Anything with the word guillotine in it is bound to be a little scary. In the 19th century, they’d perform a tonsillectomy using these instruments of pain. It would usually result in a lot of bleeding and several other nasty complications.
A tool to grasp and crush external haemorrhoids extremely painfully
These things were used in the 1870s to treat hemorrhoids and uterine or ovarian tumors. They worked by tightly grasping and crushing an external haemorrhoid until the damaged tissue eventually died and fell right off. I think people in those days had a higher pain tolerance.
8. Cervical Dilator
A dangerous tool used to dilate the cervix during childbirth that caused many deaths
Another instrument of hell from the 1800s, the cervical dilator was used in case the cervix did not dilate enough during childbirth. Unfortunately, it caused a number of accidents and tears, and was soon discarded as a medical tool.
9. Artificial Leech
A cylinder with blades used as a replacement for real leeches
This was used as a replacement for leeches, which are often used in medical practise till date. It had rotating blades to draw the blood and a cylinder which created a vacuum to suck the blood up.
10. Arrow Remover
An instrument used to widen arrow wounds to take out arrowheads
In the 1500s, they had a bunch of different ways to remove lodged arrows (something they don’t really show you in the movies). This device was inserted into the wound area and then the blades literally tear open the skin for the arrowhead to be extracted. Remember, no anesthetic!
11. Amputation Saw
A saw with fancy engravings that also built up a lot of germs and bacteria
Amputation saws in the 1600s tended to be more than just clinical. Doctors with a penchant for showmanship had saws with intricate carvings and engravings. Unfortunately, these engravings tended to be a breeding ground for germs, which didn’t bode too well for their patients. Damn rich people!