- Time Period: 1930s to 1950s
Tuberculosis was a horrible condition that used to end the life of everyone who caught it. Before medication was made to treat and eventually cure the infection. Contrary to popular belief, tuberculosis does not just affect the lungs. It can cause issues to the kidneys, brain, eyes, and intestines too. Some only have issues in one of these areas or multiple. Yet lungs were the most common to be affected. Prior to proper treatment, physicians assumed a forced collapsed lung, or plombage, would cure the issue. It sounds crazy but here was their logic.
Since a collapsed lung would heal faster than tuberculosis would take to get out of the system, forcibly collapsing the lung would remove the issue as the lung heals. To do this, doctors would create a cavity underneath the upper ribs and fill it with materials like paraffin wax, ping pong balls, and much more. Shockingly, this did not exactly help and carried a lot of risks. Some ended up hemorrhaging, developing an infection, or causing other respiratory problems. Old medical treatments like this came as a result of ignorance, but today we know this sort of thing does not really help a lot or at all.