An analysis of medicine and hospitals in the civil war

Tripleron August 12, Rochester City Hospital was An analysis of medicine and hospitals in the civil war of the hospitals that provided care for soldiers in the later years of the Civil War. While medicine had not advanced much since the middle ages, weapons had become very proficient at killing and causing horrible wounds.

Ether was a combination of alcohol and sulfuric acid and was a common anesthetic during the war. At the ends of such cars would be a room for supplies and food preparation. As there was no organized ambulance system to remove the wounded or an organized medical treatment system to treat the wounded, injured soldiers lay as long as three days on the battlefield.

More often they foraged in the countryside, with fresh food a valuable part of the booty. Hammond standardized, organized and designed new hospital layouts and inspection systems and literally wrote the book on hygiene for the army.

It was obvious that corps and division hospitals should become official and that something like the Letterman Ambulance Plan should be extended throughout the army.

If he dropped an instrument or sponge, he picked it up, rinsed it in cold water, and continue work. Finley and Hammond secured Congressional authority to augment the regular Army Medical Department by several hundred men, first called brigade surgeons, later surgeons of volunteers, a group that contained unusually prestigious doctors.

With the coming of the big battles ofboth armies more or less simultaneously evolved larger and better field hospitals.

He might hold his lancet in his mouth. I had no dinner. In general, the Union forces in the West were spared battlefield relief scandals by the fact that major battles were fought on the banks of rivers, whence wounded arid sick could be evacuated by river boats to Mound City, Illinois, St.

Washington and its environs was the natural hospital center of the Union Army because of its proximity to major battlefields. As time passed, younger and less self-righteous nurses began to appear in the army, furnished by the Western Sanitary Commission or some other relief agency.

Medical and surgical care during the American Civil War, 1861–1865

There, lying on clumps of hay or bare ground, the wounded awaited their turn on the operating table. Weapons Over Medicine The era of the Civil War was a time when weapons were far more advanced than medicine. In contrast, a "general" hospital did not limit its admissions.

These cases were likely to be mortal, but the operator seldom knew because the patient was soon evacuated to a general hospital. As an additional precaution he procured and distributed widely a book on native herbs and other plants that grew wild in the South and were believed to possess curative qualities.

Women as Nurses Thousands of women on both sides of the war volunteered to work as nurses in the hospitals. After meal I visited the hospitals and a barn where our sick are lying, and dealt medicines and write prescriptions for one hundred more; in all visited and prescribed for, one hundred and eighty-six men.

Farm wagons most often constituted the ambulances of the Confederacy. Medications There were a number of medications that were frequently used in the treatment of Civil War soldiers. First came epidemics of the childhood diseases of chicken poxmumpswhooping coughand, especially, measles.

Sherman made foraging his official policy on his march from Atlanta to Savannah, his army was never healthier. Jonathan Letterman and the beginning stages of the ambulance corps.

For ease of reading on the internet I have put these subsets on separate pages. On a few occasions, the hospitals and patients were held several days and exchanged for Confederate prisoners of war. In that era of "heroic dosing" Moore foresaw shortages in drugs, surgical instruments, and hospital supplies.

It was obvious that the makeshift general hospitals--hotels, warehouses, schools, churches--should be rapidly replaced by pavilion hospitals designed for their function. The recumbent went by ambulances, if there were any, for the ride to the field hospital, usually anywhere from three to five miles from enemy artillery and sometimes much farther.

Even if an army were able to overcome the shortage of ambulances, it was really the lack of organization that made it difficult to recover the wounded on the battlefield. It became the standard military wounded care delivery system through World War II.

Early in the war, and later when it seemed appropriate, the commission persuaded highly respected doctors to write pamphlets on sanitation and hygiene. Secretary Stanton leaned heavily on General Henry Halleck for military advice, and this usually supported the ideas of the old regular army medics who were jealous of Hammond, the interloper who had been promoted over their heads from captain to brigadier general.

Behind the Lens: A History in Pictures

Fortunately, immediately after the outbreak of war there was a swarming of humanitarians of both sexes who wanted to be of help to the citizen soldiers.

Measles outbreaks were also common. Fairfax Seminary, in Alexandria, Virginia served as a makeshift hospital for the Army of the Potomac.

Here, the wounded soldiers received some form of help for pain, typically whiskey. The University of Toledo briefly discusses injuries sustained during the Civil War, sanitation, changes in hospitals and staffing, and disease and infection. Civil War surgeons had not only iodine but carbolic acid as well, and a long list of "disinfectants" such as bichloride of mercury, sodium hypochlorite, and other agents.

Specifically, if the pus was white and thick, the doctors thought it was a good sign.Hospitals, Surgeons, and Nurses.

Civil War Medicine

The story of Civil War medicine is only less depressing than the story of Civil War prisons; if the first is lighted by flashes of heroism, the second is ameliorated by generosity and self. The National Museum of Civil War Medicine features a collection of online videos and resources to bring to life a medical world which we cannot imagine living in today.

At the war’s onset, the Union had not yet established its own hospitals and most public hospitals at the time were rat-infested, dirty, and plagued by diseases like smallpox. Caring for the Men The History of Civil War Medicine. When the war began, the United States Army medical staff consisted of only the surgeon general, thirty surgeons, and eighty-three assistant surgeons.

The Civil War Field Hospital at the Battle of Savage Station This photograph of the field hospital at the Battle of Savage Station gives the reader a better view of the conditions of Civil War medicine than can be described in words.

Civil War-Era Hospitals By Stanley B. Burns, MD Editor’s Note: This essay series is written by Mercy Street's medical, historical and technical advisor, Stanley B.

Burns, MD of The Burns Archive. Medicine in the American Civil War. Jump to navigation Jump to search. The state of medical knowledge at the time of the Civil War was extremely primitive.

supplies of medicine, small hospital furniture like bed-pans, containers for mixing medicines, spoons, vials, bedding, lanterns, and numerous other implements.

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An analysis of medicine and hospitals in the civil war
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