A Breakthrough

Best Essays
Lydia Black
Mrs. Thompson
English 101
1 February 2013

During the Civil War, doctors were often forced to improvise with prescriptions, anesthesia, and amputations to save the lives of severely wounded soldiers. Even though medical decisions during the Civil war were gruesome and often pointless, and advanced our medical knowledge today. Civil war amputations, diseases, and disposal of the dead were some of the gruesome components of the time period, but it has advanced our medical knowledge today.

Many doctors, however were unprepared to treat terrible wounds,that resulted from amputations. The state of medical knowledge during the Civil war was extremely basic. Their experience mostly included pulling rotten teeth or lancing boils. Doctors did not understand infection or how easy it was to get one, and as a result they did little to prevent it. They did not recognize the lack of for cleanliness and sanitation as a cause of infection. Little was known about bacteria and germs. In fact, for the longest time during the Civil war, bandages were used over and over, on different people without being cleaned.1.

An amputation is a surgical procedure in which a doctor uses a sharp blade to remove a limb that has been severely wounded or has become infected. Military advances before and during the war meant more powerful, destructive weapons, and more devastating injuries.2. With so many patients, doctors did not have enough time to do tedious and time consuming surgical repairs, and many wounds became infected. Resulting, about three-fourths of the operations performed during the war were amputations.

Amputation kits were carried by doctors everywhere. These kits included instruments used to amputate limbs and perform other surgical procedures: two trephines, a variety of knifes, an amputation saw, bone nippers, a tourniquet, tweezers, scissors, and a time Hey saw.3.

This was a time before antiseptics; no antibiotics were available, and even minor

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