Medical Advancements Through the 17th Century


Ambroise Pare

1517 - 1590

he was considered the greatest surgeon at the time due to his skills learned on the battlefields.

Andrea Cesalpino -

1519 - 1603

had theories concerning lesser and greater circulation within the body and that blood began in the heart.

Vesalius .


Published "The Structure of the Human Body" - Found his information through the dissection of corpses

Ambroise Pare - published his book about experiences treating war injuries


He made advances in the use of ligatures to staunch blood flow and stated that it was better for the injured to dress bullet woulds with a mix of egg yolk, oil of roses and turpentine, as opposed to painful cauterization.

Galileo .


created what may have been the first thermometer. There was no scale of measurement for it to be of use

Francis Glisson

Approx. 1597 - Approx. 1677

first to describe the liver, stomach, and intestines in medical literature.

Jan Baptista Van Helmont

Approx. 1600

the first to state that air was made of different gasses, and in fact coined the term "gas"

Wilhelm Fabry of Hilden

Approx. 1600

considered the "Father of German Surgery." He innovated the concept of amputating at health tissue instead of diseased tissue.

William Harvey


He published "The Anatomical Function of the Movement of the Heart and the Blood in Animals". He stated that blood does not randomly flow through the body but is pumped in a specific circuit.

Athanasius Kircher

Approx. 1640

He was one of the first to point to microorganisms as the cause of infectious diseases and the spread of the disease.

Marcello Malpighi .


He pioneered the use of the microscope in the study of biology. He was the first scientist to observe capillaries that circulated blood through the body.

Niels Steensen


He disproved that tears came from the brain

Thomas Willis


He created the most thorough summary of the nervous system at the time.

Robert Hooke

Approx. 1665

His research showed that even without chest movements, an animal could be kept alive as long as air was breathed into its lungs.

Blood Transfusion Experiment


Scientists experimented with transfusing blood from one dog to another

Jean Baptiste Denis


He attempted blood transfusion on a 15 year old boy using lamb blood. This was done as the boy was weakened by too much blood letting.

Requested Blood Transfusion


Student at Cambridge requested blood transfusion because he was feeling "frantic". The hope was that by transfusing his blood with the blood of sheep, his blood would cool down and he would be less frantic.

Christian Huygens


He used math to create tables of life expectancy

Blood transfusions were made illegal in France


Blood transfusions were not mentioned again for 2 centuries

Antony van Leeuwenhoek


He discovered male spermatozoa using a microscope

Male Midwifery

Approx. 1690

Up until the end of the 17th century, males were not typically present at births. But male midwifery became popular in some areas of Europe during this time.

Use of Inoculations Began

Approx. 1690

Moisture was taken from a sick person's skin and applied to the skin of another person in hopes of bringing about a mild form of the sickness to make the person immune

Edmund Halley


He added onto the work of Christian Huygens to create the table of life expectancy