Physicians advertising began as photographic technology improved and the costs reduced. In Terra Haute, Indiana, Dr J. S. Gordon promoted himself as ‘The Developer of The Lung Renovator - The Great Lung Therapy.’ Lung disease was the number one killer in the nineteenth century and some physicians capitalized on the publics need for a therapy. Some of the efforts were laudable while others were not.
Under developed lungs with concomitant respiratory distress is among the serious problems a premature infant faces and one of the leading causes of their death. One of the marvels at the turn of the century was the invention of the incubator by Marx of New York. The incubator was used to treat and nurture premature infants delivering warm air to a vented closed heated container. The simple warmth helped babies survive. Although today younger and younger infants are surviving because of the care received in the modern neonatal units, respiratory function remains one of the major hurdles.
It was the pioneer work of Danish physician, Neils Ryberg Finsen, M.D. (1860-1904) in light therapy that set other minds working to develop a wide range of light treatment modalities from heliotherapy to the sun lamp. In 1893, in Copenhagen, he began his experiments showing ultraviolet rays either stimulated growth or killed the bacteria in lower organisms. In further research he studied the effect of light on living organisms and by 1896, had created the field of “phototherapy.” Finsen was able to demonstrate that invisible ultraviolet light, had therapeutic value.
In the last decades of the nineteenth century Edward Livingston Trudeau, M.D. (1848-1915) and others established the efficacy of rest and fresh air treatment for tuberculosis and other chronic lung conditions. By the end of the first decade of the twentieth century hundreds of outdoor hospitals, sanitariums and rest homes were established in the United States. The most common type of tuberculosis quarters were associated with an established hospital. On hospital grounds hundreds of private isolation huts as seen here were built. Nurses and doctors made rounds on the patients as if they were on one huge ward. Many patients were housed for extended periods of times sometimes for years. In the charity hospitals of the era working class patients were housed in long wards with outdoor terraces or in good whether beds or cots were brought outside for their use. In some localities public and social conscious societies paid for patients to have some time of the year at special isolation camps.
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