Discoveries That Changed Medicine Before World War 2

483 Words2 Pages

Stopping the Silent Killers: The Discoveries that Changed Medicine in War Before World War II the majority of fatalities in war were not caused by trauma but by diseases. Common diseases like dysentery, cholera, typhus, typhoid fever, smallpox and the influenza would wipe out entire camps of soldiers before bullets were ever fired. WWII marked the transition to trauma causing the most fatalities. Trauma wounds are defined as an injury to living tissue caused by an extrinsic agents like bullets, shrapnel, or blunt force injuries. Medical advances with blood transfusions, vaccines, and antibiotics caused a shift from infection being the most significant cause of combat fatalities to trauma causing the most deaths. Modern military history from a medical perspective can be divided into two eras, the Infection Era and the Trauma …show more content…

The Infection Era began in 1775 and continued until 1918.1This era was characterized by fatalities as a result of infectious diseases. Diseases weakened troops and increased their vulnerability in battle. According to military hygienist Alfred A.Woodhull “the sick are for the time as ineffective as the dead.”2Disease spread rampantly throughout over crowded camps in which there was a lack of sanitation and disposal of wastes. Soldiers and doctors practiced poor hygiene, which helped spread disease. On average the infectious deaths to combat deaths was 4.34:1 between 1775 and 1918. The highest ratio occurred during the War of 1812 in 1Vincent J. Cirillo, "Two Faces of Death fatalities from disease and combat in Americas principal wars, 1775 to present," Perspectives in Biology and Medicine51 (2008) 121. 2Cirillo

Open Document