The Lithotomy Position And The Time Of Hippocrates

During the time of Hippocrates, there were people who were called lithotomists and they were skilled in the art and science of lithotomy which was the surgical removal of stones for the bladder, kidney and the gall bladder. There are records of people suffering from bladder stones from way back in the time of the Egyptians and it could go back around 6000 years. In fact, even before the time of Hippocrates, there were written records that described these stones and how they should be removed.

During Hippocrates’ time there were two divisions in the medical fraternity of the day – there were the physicians who looked after people’s health and diagnosed their ills and there were the practitioners or the surgeons who were the experts in performing surgical procedures on patients. In fact, the Hippocratic oath which doctors take states that a physician will not do surgical procedures as this had to be done by the specialists in that area.

There were lithotomy procedures that were done by not just the Egyptians and the Greeks but also the Arabs, Romans and the Indians. The Lithotomy potion obviously came into existence because it was the easiest position for the physician to conduct an examination and for the practitioner to surgically remove the stones. This position really made things easier from a physical point of view as well as from a surgical point of view. It also made it easier for the patient to move around a bit and to adjust to how the physician wanted him to be. What this position unfortunately spawned was the medicalization of childbirth. Giving birth should be a natural process like all the animals and birds in nature. Once this position was adopted for childbirth, women at least in the US did not have much of a choice but to go through with a more difficult form of childbirth.