Medicine During The Civil War Essay

1911 Words8 Pages
The Civil War was filled with many diseases and deaths. Over 620,000 men lost their lives during this war; roughly two thirds of the casualties were caused by the lack of medical knowledge of many diseases. The remaining one third of the casualties was from the actual battle itself. The war became a turning point for many women interested in the medical field. The knowledge of medicine was the beginning of a new age during the Civil War, and the lack of it led to many gruesome deaths. Medical knowledge during the war was very scarce, most doctors or surgeons would get their first hands-on experience on the battlefield. Many doctors during this era were limited in resources on learning their trade, due to a lack in medical education. There were only a few medical schools during this time and those who went to one received the minimal experience possible. The battlefield hospital, located in the proximity of the war zone reflected the doctors’ minimal knowledge. Hospitals during the Civil War consisted of unsterilized tents,…show more content…
If a sponge or an instrument fell on the floor it was washed and squeezed in a basin of tap water and used as if it were clean. Our silk to tie blood vessels was undisinfected....The silk with which we sewed up all wounds was undisinfected. If there was any difficulty in threading the needle we moistened it with bacteria laden saliva, and rolled it between bacteria-infected fingers. We dressed the wounds with clean but undisinfected sheets, shirts, tablecloths, or other old soft linen rescued from the family ragbag. We had no sterilized gauze dressing, no gauze sponges....We knew nothing about antiseptics and therefore used none (“Civil War Medicine”, paragraph

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