Surgical Improvements from World War One Essay

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World War I was a war of innovation with new artillery and tactics, but also a deadly war in which approximately ten million soldiers died in or injuries sustained from battle. As injuries increased throughout the war, the need for medical assistance was constantly growing. Surgery is considered an art and like art, it evolved and new techniques were developed, making an injury that could kill someone survivable. For instance, in the Civil War most surgeons would immediately amputate and in World War I surgeons began trying much harder to save limbs. Blood transfusion allowed surgeons to reduce patient death from blood loss because of the ample supply of blood from fellow soldiers. Sanitation improvements led to fewer deaths from infection…show more content…
One surgeon broke four syringes without successfully giving a hypodermic injection due to his fatigue. (Darby) The lack of space required many places to be converted into temporary triage locations. Triage is a quick way to streamline examination and get serious cases handled first. Another issue was moving bedridden patients after their surgeries because of the narrow hatchways and doorways. The amount of patients required another ship to be dispatched to accommodate the patients. The lack of supplies and the variations of injuries caused continuous problems for surgeons, especially those who were becoming extremely fatigued. A common issue was that the extent of injuries could not have been determined completely until the patient was on the operating table. For example patients who were referred to as D and B in the report took the constant attention and the former succumbed to his injuries after two hours. the latter survived after given saline, but still needed constant attention. Another example is an unnamed patient who was not examined for over forty hours, had developed large maggots in his wounds. Unlike modern operating rooms, supplies could not be set up according to procedure. Because of the time required to properly sanitize blankets, many soldiers were without one. (Darby)
During the war, many patients died from blood loss while waiting for treatment or during surgery. This

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