Over a million records of UK doctors, dentists and midwives have been made available online.
The pay-per-view website Family Relatives has made available medical registers and directories containing over a million records of doctors, dentists and midwives covering the period 1853-1943. Some of the records pre-date the foundation in 1858 of the General Medical Council, set up to protect, promote and maintain the health and safety of the community.
Prior to 1858 anyone could call themselves a medical practitioner with some of the treatments worse than the disease and devices resembling ancient instruments of torture. The years 1853-1943 saw remarkable developments in the field of medicine and notable medical practitioners:
John Snow (1813-1858) – Discovered Cholera
In 2003, John Snow was voted the greatest Physician of all time for his evidence-based investigation and tracing of Cholera in Soho in 1854. He was the first person to dispel the myth that Cholera was caused by miasma or poor air. He traced the source to a public hand-water pump in Soho. Those who drank from it were infected by bacteria, although all those who worked in the nearby brewery (where water was heated and came from a separate water source) were not affected.
Joseph Lister (1838-1912) – Discovered Carbolic Acid (Antiseptic)
In 1865, Joseph Lister discovered that using carbolic acid as an antiseptic during surgery and ensuring hygienic conditions in theatre and around patients greatly improved chances of survival.
Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) – His discovery saved 200 million people
Alexander Fleming may have been responsible for saving more than 200 million lives, having in 1928 discovered the antibiotic penicillin, which (although an accidental discovery) has been hailed by many as possibly the greatest advance in medicine. He was knighted in 1944 and won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1945. Fleming was also recognised by being awarded the honorary gold medal of the Royal College of Surgeons, receiving fellowships from London, Toronto, Philadelphia, Harvard and Spain. He is buried in St. Pauls Cathedral, London.
Sir Ronald Ross (1857-1932) – Identified mosquitoes as the cause of malaria
Another Nobel Prize winner, Sir Ronald Ross identified the mosquito as the cause of malaria during his service in India and distinguished himself in tropical medicine and the prevention of malaria in India, Egypt, Cyprus and Mauritius.