In addition to the outright hostility that the discoverers of H. pylori experienced, other examples of medical foot-dragging abound.
Dr. V. Dracula, M.D.
One historical case of this provincial reluctance involves the practice of bleeding sick people to cure disease. Various methods of exsanguinations were utilized to withdraw blood from the body, from leeches to deep cuts to shallow lacerations with vacuum to draw the blood from the body.
Bloodletting, medical purges (induced vomiting,) rigorous enemas, and fasting with restriction of fluids were primary medical interventions for millennia.
Patients were often bled to the point where they fainted from blood loss, as that was thought to be the natural endpoint of the therapy. Before an amputation, doctors generally removed a quantity of blood equal to the volume of the limb to be amputated, lest the person be burdened with an excess of blood afterward. Then they cut off the limb.
In 1835, Pierre Charles Alexandre Louis wrote a scathing polemic on bloodletting to treat disease (Récherches sur les Effets de la Saignée), which conclusively proved that far from benefiting patients, this fashionable, standard procedure harmed and sometimes killed them.
Louis studied 78 patients with pneumonia and noted that bloodletting in the first two days doubled the risk of death.
Modern Day Bleeding
Surely, you think, such ineffective medical interventions are far behind us. Surely, all medicine is now evidence-based. If a doctor gives me a drug, it will work.