I want to know exactly how much people know about Civil War medicine, what they think about it, and would they be interested in learning more about it. I'm an avid scholar of Civil War medical history and I'm trying to get a feel for contemporary opinions and breadth of knowledge about Civil War medicine, particularly what people today think about the surgeons.

Views: 50

Replies to This Discussion

I know nothing. Just stereotypes of saw-bone doctors in field hospitals, using whiskey as anaesthetic and antiseptic... these are probably stereotypes that aren't supported by evidence. I have read some of Walt Whitman's work as a nurse in the Civil War, via a biography of him.

I'd love to know more. I'm sure it's a history that can be written well and in an interesting manner!

I do know that morphine was available, and plentifully used as an analgesic. In fact, it was so commonly used that morphine addiction came to be known as "Soldier's Disease". Bear in mind, it was still a very new drug, and the concept of physiological as well as psychological addiction were not really understood.

I believe that it was during the civil war that the technique of intravenous injection of drugs was first tested in the field, although not via a dedicated intravenous catheter, as is the case nowadays. Drugs were injected directly from a syringe into a punctured vein (a technique we call a "hot shot" these days). Syringes back then were glass and steel affairs, and the needles had to be sharpened periodically so that they could puncture skin. In fact, my grandmother (a nurse for 60 years) left me a set of such syringes when she passed away. I keep them in a shadow box on my wall. Quite beautiful, i think.

I could be wrong, but i believe that this was around the time when the concept of antisepsis (proposed by one Baron Von Lister, from whom listerine took it's namesake) was first beginning to take hold. In those early days, the readily available anitseptics were either alcohol (yes Vy, the whiskey antiseptic story is true), phenol, or creosote (imagine rubbing that on a fresh stump. OUCH!)

Again, check the books, but i do believe that ether was available as an anesthetic, although rarely used in the field due to its explosive nature.

    I once heard a story that a doctor doing amputations in a two story building would drop the bad limb in a pile out the window. Eventually the pile became level with the window. I also saw a picture of a typical Civil War doctor's briefcase. It has a lot of saws.

    I think heroin was invented during the Civil War in an attempt to create a pain killer less addictive than morphine. We see how that turned out...

RSS

Latest Activity

Regular Joe replied to Will's discussion The red pill
"I'm saying "it appears" in the sense of "it becomes visible" not "it gives the impression". "
19 minutes ago
Josh Allen replied to Will's discussion The red pill
"That is my ceremonial robe. It is necessary."
20 minutes ago
David F. replied to Nick's discussion Th lonely life of full-time pastors
"I'm not qualified to advise beyond this.  My faith tradition is highly structured with a clear chain of authority.  With this comes the ability for the pastors to ask for help.  Reach out to the elders in your faith and talk to…"
36 minutes ago
Rick Shelton replied to Will's discussion The red pill
"If something walks like a duck, craps like a duck, and talks like a duck then you're F8cK'n crazy 'cuz ducks don't talk. I just looked at the site and Regular Joe's right.  It's a bunch of guys talking crap about…"
42 minutes ago
Alan Robertson replied to Kneller's discussion business casual shoes for under $100?
"Check out Aldoshoes.com or see if they have a store in a mall close by. They aren't superb quality but they do make some pretty decent entry level shoes for someone looking to step up their shoe game. Most everything is $100 + but I never pay…"
57 minutes ago
James Sullivan posted a photo

wedding

Me and wifey at a friend's wedding this past weekend...
1 hour ago
Michael J. K. replied to Nick's discussion Howdy from the Desert!
"welcome Preacher man "
2 hours ago
Upside down bloke replied to Upside down bloke's discussion Nature of relationships
"Yes I agree with you.  I think the other person makes the relationship good and that you shoudn't stick with someone because of an idea.  I think if you really love someone then it's easy to live with them.  So my idea is…"
4 hours ago

© 2014   Created by Brett McKay.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service