Old operating theaters
The old operating theaters were a room of spectacle, learning, agony, and healing; all combined.
The patients would lie down conscious, strapped, and in pain on the operating table (I’m talking the pre-anesthesia era), the doctors would surround the patient leaving just enough space for the students (and observers) to see enough to be able to learn to perform the operation.
Following is an excerpt from the online museum website where the picture is taken from.
“Until 1847, surgeons had no recourse to anaesthetics and depended on swift technique (surgeons could perform an amputation in a minute or less), the mental preparation of the patient and alcohol or opiates to dull the patient’s senses. Thereafter ether or chloroform started to be used. The Operating Theatre had closed down before antiseptic surgery was invented. The majority of cases were for amputations or superficial complaints as, without antiseptic conditions, it was too dangerous to carry out internal operations.”
Online museum website link is accessible here.