Who Was The First Doctor Ever?

The first historically recorded doctor ever was Hippocrates (460 – 370 BCE).

In the ancient world, doctors were a rare profession. Oftentimes, people referred to them as “medicine men”.

statue of a man with a beard
Image of Hippocrates , the first doctor ever
Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=164808

What Was Hippocrates Contribution to Modern Medicine?

Furthermore, commonly you can find the word “physician” referring to an ancient doctor.

Similarly, there was a general lack of any structure of the medicinal form.

Therefore, Hippocrates developed his own way of classifying illnesses in 4 categories:

  • acute,
  • chronic,
  • endemic
  • and epidemic.

Another major contribution of the first doctor ever is the Hippocratic Oath. Consequently, Hippocrates laid the foundations of modern medicine.

In light of his accomplishment, Hippocrates’ oath is used by contemporary physicians who swear to protect human life.

Cross-shaped Byzantine translation of Hippocrates Oath
A 12th-century Byzantine translation of Hippocrates Oath.
By manuscript: Unknown scan used in the book: Foto de la Biblioteca Vaticanascan from the book: User: Rmrfstar – page 27 of Surgery: An Illustrated History by Ira M. Rutkow, M.D. published in 1993: ISBN 0801660785., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1446714

It goes without saying, Hippocrates is considered to be the father of modern medicine.

On the other hand, there have been quite a few “doctors” before his time. Having said that, some might say that Hippocrates was not the first doctor ever.

Was Hippocrates the First Doctor Ever?

Some research shows that the first proof of medicine practice dates back to Prehistoric times.

Hence, it was the period when ancient humans started applying herbs to heal their wounds.

ancient men surrounding hippocrates and giving him presents
Image shows an illustration of Hippocrates refusing the presents.
By Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson – http://www.atoute.org/n/local/cache-vignettes/L550xH296/Hippocrate_et_Artaxerxes-550-f7f2c.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9558613

After that, it marked the beginning of Herbalism which is considered to be the founding block of medicine.

Early medicine continued to evolve as humankind became more aware of their environment.

Compared to today’s lifespan, the average age expectancy of ancient humans was significantly lower.

It comes as no surprise that on average, an adult Neanderthal lived to the age of 35.

Were Neanderthals the First Doctors Ever?

Moreover, believe it or not, Neanderthals were the first human (sub)species who applied basic medical practices.

Primitive but resourceful, Neanderthals used elements from their environment to cure their wounds.

figure shows ancient tools and instruments to heal wounds
Ancient Greek tools used to heal wounds.
Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1161323

In conclusion, even though Neanderthals lacked in finesse, Neanderthals treated their wounds in a resourceful manner.

Comparatively one of the most common elements used to heal wounds were clay and grass. Identically, this comes as a no surprise because those elements were in abundance.

In conclusion, one might say that Neanderthals were the first “doctors” ever.

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