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Medicine In The Civil War Essay

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The Civil War was bloody, killing around 620,000 people. Most of these people were killed by disease and sickness, and medicine was important. The Civil War split the country pinning North against South over the issue of slavery. Many things such as the Kansas-Nebraska act and the election of Abraham Lincoln led to the succession of 11 southern states. The war lasted from 1861 to 1865, and eventually the Union (the North) came out victorious under Ulysses S. Grant. Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general was not killed or imprisoned, but the 13th amendment was ratified, ending slavery. During the war, there had to be some way to try and save those mortally wounded. A new era of medicine arose, with all new treatments, procedures, and practices.…show more content…
A lot of the surgeries that were used were not brand new, and had been used before. However, many of them were not as common practice before the war than after. The most recognized surgery of the Civil War was amputation. Day after day doctors cut off the arms and legs of patients. The surgery only took around 10 minutes, and limbs were thrown on top of a pile that sometimes reached five feet tall. Someone who witnessed the surgeries had said, “Tables about breast high had been erected upon which the screaming victims were having legs and arms cut off. The surgeons and their assistants, stripped to the waist and bespattered with blood, stood around, some holding the poor fellows while others, armed with long, bloody knives and saws, cut and sawed away with frightful rapidity, throwing the mangled limbs on a pile nearby as soon as removed." Surprisingly, even though things were very unsanitary, around 75% of amputees survived. Excision and resection were used later in the war, where only part of a limb was cut off instead of a whole one. Prosthetics also exploded due to the mass amount of amputees, and crutches were used for those who couldn’t afford prosthetics. Many more surgeries that are still used today or that have impacted today were discovered then, like neurosurgery and plastic surgery as well as the amputations. Without the Civil War some of these surgeries may have never
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