Enema and stomach pump, circa 1880

Enema and stomach pump, circa 1880

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Caption: Nineteenth century enema and stomach pump in a wooden case made from brass, wood, and ivory. An enema is a syringe-like device used to evacuate the lower intestinal tract through introducing fluids to the rectum and colon via the anus. Stomach pumps are a means of evacuating the contents of the stomach. Volumes of fluid are administered and removed from the stomach through a long tube, via the mouth (or nose). Such techniques for cleansing the gastrointestinal tract have been used throughout history; the stomach pump was first invented in the eighteenth century but enema procedures were practiced as far back as 1500 B.C., having been documented in ancient Egyptian medical texts. This apparatus is by Maw Son and Thompson and dates from around 1880.

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