He mentions putting leeches on the larynx earlier on.
If you look at something like the Merck Manual of 1899, a modern doctor would have a great deal of trouble finding any pills that he would be comfortable prescribing today. In Anne's time (the 1870s), doctors -- extremely learned and studied individuals, even compared to today's standards -- still killed more people than they saved.
That scenario isnt based on good science, there's no reason why the scenario described in the book should be.
I don't know if it's general ignorance, a common plot point, wanting to feel like you should help in a situation where you're powerless. This just seems to be reading far too much into one book it's like someone watching CSI 100 years from now to measure our understanding of DNA.
Interesting article, thanks for sharing.