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: 56

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

Sir replied to Conor's discussion I need help moving on, it's been six weeks now.
"Journaling, counseling, reading relevant books, ManKind Project, Codependents Anonymous,  talking here or IRL, inner child work... if it's a big enough deal to merit it, try everything in sight til something works."
23 minutes ago
Wes McArthur replied to 2risewhenfallen's discussion Have you Worked in Companies/Industries with Massive Inefficiency?
"I cannot be certain, but I suspect the frustration I have felt in the criminal justice system is comparable. It is not only inefficient, but at times borders on the farcical."
2 hours ago
Wes McArthur replied to Kerim Oğuzcan Yenidünya's discussion Is to dwell on a subject manly?
"I concur with salt. If it's a traumatic event we are discussing, then I would say take the steps you need to put it behind you. In other words, if you cannot alter it then it's probably best to drive on...just my humble opinion."
2 hours ago
Liam Strain replied to David R.'s discussion "Iron sharpens iron" in the group The Great Debate
"What is Mic? I'm thinking of things like Richard Spencer replacing his Pepe emoji with a milk emoji.  I'm always inquisitive. "
2 hours ago
Conor replied to Conor's discussion I need help moving on, it's been six weeks now.
"Thank you, i feel a bit better now, i had a weekend away from everything and it made me feel better. As i said above i saw her when i went to town with another guy and it made me feel really bad at first and then i felt anger so when i ran into them…"
3 hours ago
Conor replied to Conor's discussion I need help moving on, it's been six weeks now.
"I know it's stupid and that i just make up excuses for her to justify her behaviour towards me, i know this in my mind but in my heart i just ignore it somehow... I actually went away this weekend to an old friend i haven't seen for a…"
3 hours ago
Conor replied to Conor's discussion I need help moving on, it's been six weeks now.
"Ah, okay. I will try to stay away from it all together to be honest."
3 hours ago
Conor replied to Conor's discussion I need help moving on, it's been six weeks now.
"And how do i focus on this, what can i do? I feel totally lost right now."
3 hours ago

© 2017   Created by Brett McKay.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service