egyptian contributions to medicine

The Egyptian Imhotep (2667 – 2648 BC) is the first physician in history known by name. The earliest known surgery in Egypt was performed in Egypt around 2750 BC. The Kahun Gynaecological Papyrus treats women’s complaints, including problems with conception. Thirty four cases detailing diagnosis and treatment survive, some of them fragmentarily. Dating to 1800 BC, it is the oldest surviving medical text of any kind. Medical institutions, referred to as Houses of Life are known to have been established in ancient Egypt as early as the 1st Dynasty.

Herodotus described the Egyptians as “the healthiest of all men, next to the Libyans”, due to the dry climate and the notable public health system that they possessed. According to him, “[t]he practice of medicine is so specialized among them that each physician is a healer of one disease and no more.” Although Egyptian medicine, to a good extent, dealt with the supernatural, it eventually developed a practical use in the fields of anatomy, public health, and clinical diagnostics.

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