A new blog called Vital Signs has posted a photo gallery of twenty particularly nasty looking surgical tools from an altogether different time.
Skull Saw (1830s-60s)
This hand-cranked saw’s blades were used to cut through sections of the skull, allowing for access by other instruments.
Tobacco Smoke Enema (1750s-1810s)
The tobacco enema was used to infuse tobacco smoke into a patient’s rectum for various medical purposes, primarily the resuscitation of drowning victims. A rectal tube inserted into the anus was connected to a fumigator and bellows that forced the smoke towards the rectum. The warmth of the smoke was thought to promote respiration, but doubts about the credibility of tobacco enemas led to the popular phrase “blow smoke up one’s ass.”