Medicine և Moliere’s “Imaginary Patient”

It has been said millions of times, “let us hope that the end of our way of life will come to us suddenly, almost unexpectedly, without giving us time to be persecuted and martyred.” And if it could, give us a brief moment to say goodbye. Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (1622-1673), better known as Moliere, whose birth marks four centuries in this (un) disgraceful year, was one of those lucky ones. During the fourth performance on February 17, 1673 Le Malade Imaginaire (The Imaginary Patient), who was released a week ago, had a seizure. Moving to his house, he died three or four hours later. In the play, he presented the cruel paradox of Argan, the role of an imaginary patient, that is. incurable hypochondriac.

What Moliere intended for the “Imaginary Patient” was ridiculed by an increasingly outdated drug that Isaac Newton did not yet have.

Like many other literary works that have survived over time and have been embedded in the cultural memory of mankind, there are many readings and interpretations that can be given. imaginary patient. We see reality, do not forget, with our own eyes feelings, interests, desires, fears, likes or phobias. Some will focus on the often-told love story of Argan’s daughter Angelica’s (apparently) impossible love. The others are in the cunning tricks of his stepmother Belina. And there will be no less those who rejoice, admire the shameless sanity of Tonina, accustomed to navigating many different waters, those who pass those whom they serve.

The case of Miguel Servetus

Nevertheless, the historian of science delights in finding references or allusions to the heroes or episodes of my discipline in the classical works of literature and theater. And in imaginary patient there are One of them is the mention “Blood circulation”, A very current medical problem in the Moliere period, which has given rise to some tragedies in the past. Someone was injured by Miguel Servetus of Aragon (1511-1553), who is credited with discovering the existence of a “small circulation” of blood through the lungs. So, contrary to Galen’s assertion, blood could not flow from the right ventricle of the heart to the left, but had to do otherwise.

Now, “this shows what he was – medicine at that time, for Servet the blood came out of” purely material “. he believed that it was the abode of the soul that God breathed into people. And he spread this mixture of theology and science in a book published in 1553. Christianismi restitutio (Restoration of Christianity), which caused him problems with both the Catholic and Protestant churches. He escaped from the Inquisition, but only fell into the hands of another intolerant Calvino, who burned him alive. heretical ideasAlong with five bundles of recently printed 500 copies of his book, only three of which have survived or are known.

Anatomical dissection

Teres Moliere thought of the English physician William Harvey (1578-1657), who excelled in the study of blood circulation. In 1628, Harvey published one of the most surviving books in history. Exercitatio anatomica de motu cordis et sanguinis in animalibus.. In it, through a series of sections and experiments, he described the heart as a muscle that contracts and expands, explaining blood flow as a result of the pulse from the dilation of the arteries when the heart contracts. However, Harvey has taken a step forward that is important in knowledge human physiologynot everyone accepted his ideas as one of the characters imaginary patientThomas Diarrhea, an aspiring physician.

Immediately after arriving in Spain On the movement of the heart, only four doctors agreed with him, while the rest of the Spanish doctors were against. It was a time when the old theory of four organic streams (humors) was still very much in place: blood, sputum, bile (melancholy) and yellow bile. Depending on which one was dominant, there would be people sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic or melancholic. Humor imbalance (dyscrasiaէր was the cause of the disease, և the cure was achieved by reducing the prevailing principle of bleeding և cleansing, the negative, if not fatal consequences of which patients have suffered for two millennia.

What Moliere wanted in this job was to make fun of those doctors, going for the old medicine. Today it is much easier to ridicule such falsifications, assumptions rooted in tradition, which is deaf to the Supreme Judge, which is the proof. but we must not impose our present standards, which are the result of long and painful efforts in which mistakes coexisted with success, nor should we forget that the science of the human body had not yet had its Isaac Newton. in fact, it was easier to understand the heavens than our bodies.

Transfusion attempts

Medicine has evolved, but often in the dark. A good example of this is the attempt of two English physicians, Richard Lower և Edmund King (the latter, King Charles II’s physician), to transfuse blood from a sheep into a human on November 23, 1667. Surprisingly, this one survived. However, in 1668 French pioneer in the field of transfusionJean Dennis, who taught medicine in Montpellier, died after a transfusion. Krill performed the first direct blood transfusion, a practice that was widespread before World War I.

still remain many diseases which affect our body և mind, against which modern medicine does not know how to fight, but even then how lucky we are to live in times like the present.

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