The Founding fathers of medicine (PPAC #51)

**Note: This post has been sitting in my drafts for a while. When I use to work in East LA, I kept trying to perfect this post. Maybe I felt compelled to because I saw it everyday. But now since I no longer work in East LA, I thought it was time to release it. **

East of downtown Los Angeles there is this large stone building known as the Historic General Hospital, also nicknamed The Great Stone Mother. This building was where Los Angeles County Department of Health Services treated patients from 1933 to the early 2000s when it was no longer compliant to treat patients in this building. Though this building does not treat patients, it does serve other purposes: it’s a work space for many non-profits and non-clinical departments occupy the space. In addition, this building is in the works to be repurposed as affordable housing and other mixed-used development.

When you arrive to the front of the building, you’ll find these statues greeting you at the entrance. In the center is the Angel of Mercy who comforts the infirm couple. The three figures on each side represent central people who have contributed to (Western) medicine.

From left to right:

Louis Pasteur has made many contributions to not just medicine, but also science (pasteurizaton, fermentation). He discovered germ theory, infectious disease, developed vaccines for anthrax, rabies, and chicken cholera.

English physician William Harvey discovered the blood cycle, recognizing that blood flows around the human body.

Andreas Vesalius was known to be the father of modern human anatomy founded through the dissection of humans.

Angel of Mercy comforting the two patients in the center panel. I do want to say, the spiritual part of care is just as important somatic part of care.

Hippocrates of Kos developing the theory of the four humors, or fluids which are blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm.

Galen was a Greek physician who made the discovery that arteries carry blood and the first physician to use the pulse as a sign of illness.

John Hunter was a British surgeon and more modern member of the group. He transformed practice of surgery from being a trade to an experimental science and advanced the understanding of the bone cycle. He also contributed to the practice of dentistry to what we consider now as basic such naming the different types of teeth, how sugar causes cavities, and tooth loss.

PPAC #51

5 thoughts on “The Founding fathers of medicine (PPAC #51)”

  1. Hi Julie, I was just about to turn off my computer, when I saw your post link come in. This is an interesting assortment of historic figures. As the committee plans public art, as someone planned the statues on this building, it must have been hard to narrow down who to include. Some of these are very famous, others a, like Hunter, or Galen might be obscure. That committee has educated the entire community of Los Angeles, anyone who passed by the building and took the time to enjoy the public art. Thanks for sharing, Julie. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never heard of Galen and Hunter either — I had to look them up of course. I pass these figures all the time and I kept telling myself “I got to look up what they did.”

      Liked by 1 person

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