John Snow – The Father of Modern Epidemiology
Epidemiology is the study of patterns of disease in human populations: who has the disease, how much disease they have, and why do they have it (Hydroville Curriculum Project, 2004). Epidemiologists study disease in groups of people, or populations. They study the general information about the populations. This form of research is largely field work. You, as an epidemiologist, only get to study the population once while it is under the specific conditions. You have to take very detailed notes and you have to take notes about everything, even things that may not have an effect on the outcome. People have to be willing to talk to the epidemiologists if they are to get an accurate picture to find the cause of the disease. The population must be studied to make sure that every factor that affects the disease is included (Hydroville Curriculum Project, 2004).
John Snow was a brilliant doctor who in addition to being the father of epidemiology, was also a pioneer in using anesthesia for women during childbirth. In 1853, Snow gave Queen Victoria chloroform when she gave birth to her eighth child, Prince Leopold. During his life, John Snow was witness to several cholera outbreaks. He wanted to learn more about how the disease spread.
The early years
John Snow was born in 1813 in York, England. He was a very bright, methodical, and eager student. His mother used a small inheritance to send him to a private school where he did very well. John wanted to become a physician, so at fourteen he was apprenticed to Dr. William Hardcastle in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He loved to gather little details that others overlooked in his notebooks. During the summer of 1831, a cholera epidemic struck London. By October the outbreak had spread to Newcastle, where Snow was in his fourth year as an apprentice. Dr. Hardcastle had so many patients... [continues]
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