The word “quack” has been used to signify the itinerant medical practitioner, one who operated among the fringes of orthodox medicine, selling therapeutic wares and boasting tremendous efficacy in curing all manners of diseases and disorders. “Quack” is also a term of abuse, to undercut a medical competitor or to dismiss an innovative treatment. The history of medicine and surgery is full of practitioners and therapies that fall between this binary, raising questions about how we incorporate “quack” in our explanations of the past.
Written by medical historian Dr. Jaipreet Virdi-Dhesi, From the Hands of Quacks explores the innovative, paradoxical, and remarkable history of medicine and health. This blog especially focuses on hearing loss, deafness “quack” curers, and cures. In so doing, FTHOQ aims to bridge a historical understanding of hearing loss and the “medicalization” of the deaf by going beyond modern technological “cures” (such as the cochlear implant) to examine the historical role and conflict between medical and social efforts to integrate the deaf into hearing society.