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Pandemics have afflicted human civilizations throughout history, yet these health crises have also led to progress in medicine and society that improved people’s lives. History shows that scientific innovation often proceeds from the collaboration of researchers across disciplines, nations, and institutions. 

The Pandemics & Medical Breakthroughs Collection includes: 

Book one: Notes on Nursing: What It Is and What It Is Not. This 1859 book by Florence Nightingale provides hints on nursing to those entrusted with the health of others. Florence Nightingale stressed that it was not meant as a teach-yourself-nursing guide, but to assist in the practice of treating others. The book appeared at a time when the simple rules of health were only beginning to be known, when its subjects were of vital importance for the well-being and recovery of patients. It includes advice and practice for ventilation and warming, noise, environment, food, beds and bedding, light and cleanliness. 

Book two: The Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918. Oscar J. Harvey (1850-1922) was a renowned historian of Wilkes-Barre and Pennsylvania's Wyoming Valley and held the positions of professor of mathematics and English at Wyoming Seminary. This is his account of the ravages of the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918 in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, and the efforts made to combat and overcome it. Harvey gives a firsthand account of how the county struggled to deal with the plague while America was still engaged in World War One. Luzerne County responded immediately by adopting and enforcing drastic regulations to minimize contagion, setting up emergency hospital facilities and caring for the sick. Other challenges included finding the right staff, raising the remuneration of nurses, helping people to pay rent, and taking care of orphans. 

Book three: The Germ Theory and Its Applications to Medicine and Surgery. The great scientists Louis Pasteur (1822-1893) and Joseph Lister (1827-1912) revolutionized medical practice in the 19th century. Pasteur's discovery of the cause of fermentation formed the basis of modern germ theory while Lister developed antiseptic surgical methods based on that. The book contains a description of the theory and accounts of their work and experiments. 

Book four: Recovery from the Passage of an Iron Bar Through the Head is a report by Dr. John M Harlow on the case of Phineas P. Gage who survived an accident in which an iron rod was driven completely through his head, destroying much of his brain's left frontal lobe, and for the injury's reported effects on his personality - friends considered him “ to be no longer Gage". The author states that the case serves to show the wonderful resources of the system in enduring the shock and overcoming the effects of so frightful a lesion, and as a beautiful display of the recuperative powers of nature.

Public Domain (P)2020 Museum Audiobooks

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