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Glossary

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B

  • bed warmer

    Device for warming beds. Usually metal, and containing embers from the fire.

  • bedpan

    Shallow containers made of metal, glass or plastic designed to be used for urination or defecation by people confined to bed.

  • bell - idiophone

    Percussion vessel consisting of a hollow object, usually of metal but in some cultures of hard clay, wood, or glass, which when struck emits a sound by the vibration of most of its mass; they are held in position at their vertex, the point farthest from their rim, and their zone of maximum vibration is towards the rim.

  • belladonna

    Atropa Belladonna is a plant with bell-shaped flowers and black berries. The plant and flowers are poisonous. However, the roots and leaves are used in medical treatments and remedies.

  • benign

    signifies that treatment or removal (of a tumour) will lead to successful recovery

  • bib

    A piece of material worn by children to protect their clothes whilst eating.

  • bifocals

    A spectacle lens that is used for both long and short sight.

  • bile

    A yellow-greenish fluid produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. It plays an important role in the body’s absorption of fats.

  • bill-head

    A form of receipt that was common in business transactions from the late 1860s through to the early 1940s. Many bill-head receipts were decoratively illustrated. Most contained the company name and address, a unique invoice number, payment terms, products or services, the total and handwritten notes.

  • binaural stethoscope

    A device used to listen to the sounds produced by the human body. Ordinarily consists of rubber tubing in a Y shape. ‘Binaural’ indicates that it is used with both ears.

  • biochemistry

    The study of the chemistry of living organisms and the reactions and methods for identifying their chemical substances.

  • bioengineering

    The development of artificial replacement limbs, organs and tissues. It also refers to the use of plants in controlling erosion and in landscape restoration.

  • biomedicine

    The name given to the medical practice that is based on the sciences of the body, such as physiology (the functioning of the body).

  • bionic

    Artficial body parts, usually electronic and mechanical.

  • biopsy

    The taking of a tissue sample for microscopic analysis, in order to make a precise diagnosis.

  • bistoury caché

    A long, narrow-bladed knife, with a straight or curved edge and sharp or blunt point (probe-point); used for opening or slitting cavities or hollow structures. Bistoury caché literally translates as hidden knife

  • Black Death

    The widespread occurrence of death and disease that swept through Europe and Asia in the late 1300s, killing up to half the population in some areas. The most common cause of death was the bubonic plague, which was transmitted by bites from fleas carried by rats.

  • blackboard

    A board with a smooth usually dark surface for writing on with chalk

  • bladder

    A muscular sac that stores urine, ready for excretion.

  • blanket support

    A framework of metal strips or other material that forms a cage over an injured part of the body of a patient lying in bed, to protect it from the pressure of the bedclothes.

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