November 28, 2020

Who invented the medical suit against epidemics?

The toilets demand material to combat the coronavirus. Robes, glasses, gloves, masks. The first line of defense is doctors. Our protection begins with your protection. But who was the first person to introduce such clothing to tackle the infectious outbreaks that we now see on a daily basis? His names are Charles de Lorme, a doctor of reputation, who worked for nobles and kings throughout the 17th century. Her father had practiced medicine and his prestige had led him to serve for Marie de Medicis. He inherited a vocation he had seen practicing at home since he was a child. Unlike the doctors of the Middle Ages, those men who learned their remedies here and there, and who on many occasions had more of street vendors than of true scientists, Charles de Lorme studied at the University of Montpellier. To what he had learned at home had to add the experience of his parent and what he would add later to those lessons that he received throughout his youth.

Behind him there was already a long list of people who had fought plagues with different remedies and with greater or lesser success. In the fight against ailments and diseases, wills of different stature and influence were involved throughout the centuries, such as Hippocrates, Galen, Al-Razi, Avicenna or Maimonides, but also other more dubious personalities, such as Nostradamus and Paracelsus, wrapped by a legend that magnifies their names, but that possibly detracts from their possible achievements in this field.

The plague outbreaks had ravaged Europe from Greece. Pericles died during one of them and Rome, at different times in his empire, paid dearly for the spread of some infections (On occasions, it weakened its legions, and for certain historians it is one of the causes that exacerbated its crises and decline). Smallpox was one of the most virulent (it may have cost around 300 million lives since it first appeared), but neither is measles behind (it is estimated that it has severed about 200 million souls) and, above all, the feared black plague, which came from the East and ravaged the Old Continent in successive waves and took around 90 million people. In the popular tradition, that of the 14th century has remained, but later it repeatedly struck different cities, leaving behind entire pages dedicated to the desolation that caused its appearance. The image of black buboes in the armpits became synonymous with death.

To save the doctors who cared for the sick, Charles de Lorme, who worked for three French kings, Henry IV, Louis XIII, and Louis XIV, and who throughout his existence proved to possess enormous tenacity and a vocation for study which led him to write different treatises on his discipline, he decided to introduce measures that would help doctors not to contract infections. A man of kind, strong character, with a verb, knowledge of languages ​​and with an excellent humor, he decided to institute a suit, today recognizable, that has been the antecedent of today we see in hospitals. To avoid contagion among the professionals of your groan, He decided that all doctors should wear a long, floor-length coat, high-top boots, and a hat to cover their heads. But the most recognizable part is a mask to cover the face, provided with some gauze and handkerchiefs in the ducts of the nose to avoid getting impregnated with the miasmas of the patients, and glasses to avoid exposing the eyes. It was a rough outfit, sometimes covered with substances to make it more efficient, which the centuries have been refining and improving until reaching the current ones.


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