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Medical Achievements During The Civil War

1114 words - 5 pages

The Civil War birthed an amazing new topic that is extremely important to us in our daily life today. The Civil War made people create new ideas in the medical field that affect us in so many ways. Everything that these people discovered we still use now, but the ideas might be a little more advanced today. Many ideas and other advancements helped doctors treat soldiers faster, which was extremely important due to the Civil War’s amazingly high death toll. The death toll was the highest it had ever been in a previous war involving America. Because of this, new products, new ideas, and new ways to treat patients emerged from the terrible war that our country encountered. These ideas led ...view middle of the document...

These techniques included the idea of cutting as far away from the heart as possible, and another idea of never slicing through the joint of the body. Now that amputation was a new surgery that was being performed, the death rate went down from 75% of patients dying to 25%. Seeing this data and knowing how surgeons helped civil war, some might conclude that amputation was a definite medical advancement.
Another civil war advancement, or idea, was a new process of getting soldiers from the battlefield to be treated quickly and effectively. This was a new idea called the Ambulance to ER System. The National Museum of Civil War Medicine explains it best by saying, “(Dr. Jonathan Letterman) created a highly organized system of ambulances and trained stretcher bearers designed to evacuate the wounded as quickly as possible.” This system revolutionizes the ways we can treat our patients in war and everyday citizens. First, the ambulance would pick up the wounded soldiers. Next, the wounded soldiers would be taken to a Field Dressing Station where there would be simple first aid care for the soldier. The soldiers would be bandaged, and given whiskey or morphine for pain. After that, the soldiers would be taken to a Field Hospital which was outside of the battlefield, but only by a few hundred yards. Upon arrival, the soldiers would be split up into three groups based on the severity of their wounds. This is also where the amputations would occur. Finally, they would be taken to a Large Hospital where they would receive long-term care. This hospital was located away from the battlefield.
On the other hand, there are many great inventions during the Civil War that helped the soldiers be treated more effectively. One of these inventions was anesthesia. Dr. Julian John Chisolm actually made something that would allow the South to use less anesthesia (chloroform) than the North, but still be able to treat as many patients. His idea was the Anesthesia Inhaler, which was a 2.5 inch inhaler that allowed soldiers to breathe in fumes of chloroform. This helped tremendously because before this the surgeons would have to soak a rag in chloroform, which would use about two ounces of chloroform. This new inhaler only used one-eighth of an ounce of...

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