What contributions did Abbasid doctors make to modern medicine?
The achievements of physicians during the Golden Age really were the beginnings of modern medicine as we know it. From the Ancient Greeks greats (like Galen and Hippocrates), Arab scholars borrowed the idea of the four humours which taught that the body is made up of four basic liquids (blood, phelgm, black bile and yellow bile) that causes sickness when any of them are out of balance. Using logic and experimentation, Arab doctors at first built on the theories of the humours but eventually began to call into question whether this theory could explain the cause of sickness.
Universities throughout the empire employed scholars and translators to copy and perfect the works of early Chinese, Greek, and Indian medical knowledge.
Every major Muslim city during the medieval ages had a hospital that treated people regardless of their ability to pay. These hospitals sported some pretty impressive innovations of the time such as separate wards for diseases, surgery, and other ailments. Hospitals had their own gardens and fountains to allow patients to recuperate in peace. Medieval Arab doctors had to pass difficult tests to become certified to practice medicine. Anyone who failed was banned from practicing in any part of the empire. Medieval doctors were able to remove cataracts from the eyes. Through observation it was understood that dirty conditions leads to infection and so instruments and wounds were sterilized.
While medieval patients in Europe could expect a painful and bloody experience with a barber-surgeon who was only partly trained at a university; medieval Arabic doctors were using anesthetics to ease the pain of surgery.
Famous Arab doctors include Al Razi who wrote books on how to diagnose and treat smallpox, a highly contagious disease that was responsible for wiping out 90% of the Native American population after the Europeans arrival in the 1500s.
The award for "Father of Modern Medicine" goes to a guy with a really long name: Abu Ali al-Hussain ibn Sina but you can call him by his western name (Avicenna) if it makes it easier.
Ibn Sina was by all accounts a genius- having memorized the entire Quran by the age of 10 and employed as the Sultan's (king) personal physician at only 18. During his life he wrote over 200 medical works on everything from pharmacology (drug usage), physiology (how the body works), and psychiatry (treating the mentally ill). One of his greatest achievements was recognizing the cause of another contagious disease, tuberculosis. The cure for both smallpox and tuberculosis wouldn't be discovered until the 20th century.
Islamic scholars were pretty smart about diagramming the body and finding cures for diseases. But like the ancient Greeks and Medieval Europeans they wrongly believed that illness was caused by imbalances of four bodily fluids called humors.
Ibn Sina has returned after 1100 years.
This time in robotic form.