Civil War Medicine Essay

2446 words - 10 pages

Civil War Medicine Since I am a dental assistant and currently enrolled in the Dental Hygiene Program, the topic of Civil War Medicine seemed quite appropriate. Medicine and the advances being made have always intrigued me. Researching Civil War Medicine allowed me to find out about the early days of anesthesia, which continues to be used in the dental office today. In this term paper, I have tried to give an overview of what took place in the Civil War as it relates to medicine. A combination of many factors contributed to the number of war casualties other than that of immediately fatal wounds. The factors covered in this term paper include: the recruiting process and the physical state of the recruits, the sanitary conditions of the camps, the evacuation procedures of the injured, experience level of the doctors, and the medicine and known procedures available at the time. Great improvements were made in all aspects of medicine, including the prevention of disease. Therefore, I see Civil War Medicine as the turning point in the medical history of the United States. Civil War Medicine is a story of care, healing, courage, and devotion amidst the death and destruction of America's bloodiest war, in the four years from 1861 to 1865. The deadliest thing that faced the Civil War soldier was disease. For every soldier who died in battle, two died of disease. Both the Federal and Confederate governments did their best to provide proper medical care for their soldiers, but even the best was not very good. Civil War Medicine was in a time before the doctors even knew much about bacteriology and were ignorant of what caused disease. Most Civil War surgeons had never treated a gun shot wound, many had never even performed surgery. Major advances changed medicine forever and thousands of men and women risked everything to make a terrible situation better. Civil War Medicine is a story of hope, even in the worst of times. The traditional image of Civil War Medicine is all brutality and ignorance. In spite of the horror, the war provoked change that ended the medical middle ages and set medicine on a path toward the modern era. At the beginning of the Civil War, little was known about what caused disease, how to stop it from spreading, or how to cure it. Surgical techniques ranged from the barbaric to the barely competent. Along with advances in the use of anesthesia, evacuation of the wounded, hospitals, nursing, surgery, and sanitation, there was the example of tens of thousands of men and women who risked lives and fortunes to aid the sick and wounded. Their experience is an inspiration to all subsequent generations. "To Arms!" was the cry in the North and the South. Tens of thousands of young men were attracted to the armies seeking comradery and adventure. The recruiting process involved a medical examination. This exam required a new recruit to undress and be examined from head to foot. The eyes, ears, nose, and teeth were checked...

Find Another Essay On Civil War Medicine

To What Extent Were Medical Advancements of the Civil War Beneficial?

1707 words - 7 pages The goal of this investigation is to evaluate to what extent were medical advancements of the civil war beneficial? In order to assess this question from multiple perspectives of the topic, research is needed to further look into pre civil war medicine, diseases of the civil war, medical staff of the civil war, as well as the motivation behind advancements in medical technology. The pre and post-war periods of time will be considered in this

Advancements in Med-Care Essay

1913 words - 8 pages George Wunderlich once stated, “The American Civil War often gets credit for ending slavery and reshaping the federal government in this country. But the war between the states has another, often overlooked legacy: It may have started a new era in modern medicine” (“Civil War Medicine Quotes”). Contamination of medical equipment, poor sanitation methods, and lack of efficient medical procedures all led to the spread of disease, which resulted in

Civil War

1432 words - 6 pages between the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 and the beginning of World War I in 1914. Northern victory was the war that preserved the United States as one nation and broken the foundation of slavery that had separated the country from its beginning (James McPherson, 2013). Back in the time of the Civil War, hospitals did not have a lot of medicine. There was not antibiotics and barley any vaccines because back in that time they did not know that

Advancements of Med-Care

1156 words - 5 pages Advancements of Med-Care George Wunderlich once stated, “The American Civil War often gets credit for ending slavery and reshaping the federal government in this country. But the war between the states has another, often overlooked legacy: It may have started a new era in modern medicine” (brainyquote). Contamination of medical equipment, poor sanitation methods, and lack of efficient medical procedures all led to the spread of disease, which

Medical Achievements During the Civil War

1114 words - 5 pages high death toll. The death toll was the highest it had ever been in a previous war involving America. Because of this, new products, new ideas, and new ways to treat patients emerged from the terrible war that our country encountered. These ideas led me to think that medicine and other medical advancements were extremely important to the Civil War and still affect us today. Shifting gears a little bit, there were many people who were important

Women's Roles in the Civil War

952 words - 4 pages Women take an important position in society; they have many roles and can do anything men can. Women contributed a lot in the past and in the present; it may just be small things, but it may make a difference in one way or another. Throughout history, there were many battles; one battle was the American Civil War, which was fought from 1861 to 1865. The Civil War was a devastating war that this country has seen. The Civil War was a fight between

Transferred and Transformed

1184 words - 5 pages influence on scientific medicine, with the first use of mobile bacteriological units. The units lowered the effect of disease on the fighting forces, which helped to lower the amount of soldiers getting sick, and put a bigger spotlight on the surgical patients (Sciencemuseum, 2014). The trauma advances that were created made the mortality rate for injured soldiers that reached medical services go from 4.5% in the Civil War to 2% in Vietnam. The

Civil War Nursing

592 words - 2 pages reforms. The work of the army nurses dramatically changed public perceptions about women in medicine. It helped to introduce female personnel into responsible roles in a traditionally male military environment. This was a big step in the progression of women toward more involvement in American society. Nursing changed rapidly after the war, few women remained in the profession. Some became physicians. Clara Barton, who was a civil war nurse

Civil war medecine

630 words - 3 pages To truly see civil war medicine in all its glory you must look at the faces and the souls of the surgeons. One of the most famous surgeons was Surgeon R.R. McMeens. He was born in Lycoming county Pennsylvania and his father was a prosperous farmer. He showed great interest in medicine and soon joined the Pennsylvania School of Medicine and three years later he had a degree. The reason why he is such a hero is because he could have left the

Diseases During the Civil War

3906 words - 16 pages . Robertson, author of Soldiers Blue and Gray, describes many of the factors that contributed to the rampant diseases during the Civil War. Medical school admittance during the mid-eighteen hundreds required little more than having the money to pay for it (156). It was also a two-year program with the second year being a repetition of the first. Robertson says, "Mastering what was known of medicine in the mid-nineteenth century could be learned in

The US Civil War - Reconstruction

1134 words - 5 pages /civilwar_stats.htm, 2005). The civil war caused more amputations due to injures then any other war. Along with problems, the war also had some effect that could bee seen as positive the field of medicine gained a vast amount of knowledge on proper medical procedures also huge advances in medicine as a whole. While these effects were positive I do not believe they were worth the cost of the human life lost. Wars today are not as bloody but advances are still

Similar Essays

Civil War Medicine Essay

1495 words - 6 pages contains morphine and codeine used as a powerful medicine for pain relief. Opium was usually found in most households medicine cabinets during this time. Although today opium is illegal because it is actually a very strong chemical that is processed chemically to produce heroin. London 3 Dysentery was the number one killer during the Civil War, victims got severe diarrhea with passage of mucous and blood. Closed bowels were treated with the infamous

Limitations In Civil War Medicine Essay

1756 words - 7 pages From 1861 to 1865, civil war broke loose and resulted in the many deaths of Americans. The blame for this tragedy is not due to the conflict alone, but due to the standards of medicine during the mid 1800s. Today we have the luxury of antibiotics and anesthetics to cure aliments and a much higher chance of surviving an injury or a common disease like malaria. Unfortunately, during the civil war, medical practitioners had to resort to primal

Medicine In The Civil War Essay

711 words - 3 pages Medicine In The Civil WarThose medical professionals who look back now at the techniques of Civil War doctors and hospitals are often found to be appalled. In our current eyes, medical professionals were untrained, uneducated, and frankly, stupid. The common medicines of the Civil War are now viewed by medical professionals as poisonous, lethal, and definitely dangerous. It is a statistical fact that more soldiers in the Civil War died from

Confederate Medicine In The Civil War

1985 words - 8 pages the main characters, a man named Inman. Inman is in a military hospital due to a gunshot wound he received in battle. During the book, he spends a short time in the hospital. Within the few passages about his stay in the hospital, it became obvious that the care of the sick and wounded soldiers was of poor quality along with the knowledge of medicine at that time. The Civil War took place in a time when doctors did not know about bacteriology