The Origin of Medicine

In 805 C.E., CALIPH HARUN AR-RASHID established a hospital in his capital, Baghdad. From the 9th century through the 13th, other rulers built and maintained hospitals throughout the Islamic empire, from Spain to India. These hospitals welcomed the rich and the poor of all religions. Professional physicians not only treated the sick there but also did research and trained new practitioners. Separate wards were set aside for different specialties—internal medicine, ophthalmology, orthopedics, surgery, contagious disease, and mental infirmity. Doctors, accompanied by their students, examined the sick each morning and prescribed diets and…

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