15 Terrifying Medical Procedures We Once Considered Effective


These 15 terrifying medical procedures will have you feeling glad that you are around today. Some of these medical procedures might seem crazy now, but they where considered highly effective back then.

Iron Lungs



Before a vaccine for polio was created, patients would be locked inside this device known as iron lungs, which helped simulate breathing. Patients would be locked in for weeks at a time, unable to speak except from when the machine let them exhale. Scary!

Tanning babies


Winter rickets is a disorder caused by lack of vitamin D. Now days we are prescribed tablets for this, however procedures such as artificial tanning was once, even on infants.

Plague doctors


In the 1800's plague doctors existed in order to try and cure those with the bubonic plague. They wore creepy masks with long beaks which they filled with flowers, as they believed the plague was spread through smell. They used methods such as lashings, and leeches to bleed the patient dry.

Stricture divulsor


This device will make any man cringe. It was used to widen the urethra if urine flow was a problem. The device would be inserted and a screw turned to widen it. Bleeding was considered a good sign!.

Tonsil guillotine


Tonsillitis was considered to be life threatening before antibiotics. Because of this, the tonsil guillotine was used. It proved very effective at severing tissue, and was used to stop patients biting doctors whilst trying to operate.

Artificial leech


Bleeding a patient dry in order to cure a diseases or illness was common practice. When they didn't have access to leeches they used this rather terrifying looking artificial one.

Hemorrhoid Forceps


This delightful device would clamp haemorrhoids and crush them to restrict blood flow. They would then eventually fall off. What about internal ones I hear you say? well naturally they were pulled out by a hook.

Early plastic surgery


Modern day plastic surgery as we know it has not been around all that long. Before that they used these creepy looking masks, however they made do with what they had I guess.

Early wheelchairs


Dr Clark designed this device in 1878, allowing those suffering from spinal injuries to walk for up to a couple of hours, or even days. In reality, even the medically fit could not move it due to its huge weight.

The Utica Crib


It might as well be called a caged, designed to stop patients in mental hospitals from walking. It was abolished and the straight jacket or restraints are now used.

Dental Screw Forceps


If you hate the dentist now, consider yourself lucky. This device was used to clamp onto teeth and drill down into them to remove them. Before the invention of anaesthetic... ouch!.

Spermatorrhea Ring


During victorian times, masturbation was seen as a bad thing. Therefore this device was created to stop men from doing so. Every time they got a little excited they would feel the spikes which would kill the mood.

Heroin and cocaine cough syrup


Both heroin and cocaine where used in order to dull pain before it was discovered how addictive they are. It was made by the same company that bought us aspirin.

Early Prosthetics


L0037037 Steel hand and forearm and leather upper arm

They can be traced as far back as ancient Egypt, however until recently they were often impractical, un-natural looking devices.



Thankfully we now have paracetamol to cure headaches. Before that though, doctors would drill a hole into the patients skull, to cure pain!?. Terrifying.

via Distractify.