The Minute Book
Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Expedient Medications (1855)
Topic: Military Medical

Expedient Medications (1855)

From: Field Service; The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia, 11 May 1855
(From the Household Words)

No soldier should be without useful hints in the case of wounded or sick men, when the doctor is not at hand. Fever, ague, and dysentery, are the diseases soldiers are most liable to. For ague there are several common vegetable substitutes, in the absence of quinine, the king of all: such as willow bark, or orange leaf water, the root of the sweet scented flag, oak bark, gentian,—to which add catechu and bitters in general for dysentery or diarrhoea, and holly bark for ague. The last remedy on the list is a truly military one—namely, a charge of powder swallowed in water is a prompt and safe emetic.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 22 July 2016

"War is a Funny Game, Mother"
Topic: Military Medical

"War is a Funny Game, Mother"

The Age, Melbourne , Australia, 31 January 1900

The following extract is from the letter of an officer who was shot by a Boer at Elands Laagte while protecting another Boer who had surrendered. After describing how he was "knocked over" from behind, he says:—

"I lay where I fell for about three-quarters of an hour, when a doctor came and out a field dressing on my wound, gave me some brandy, put my helmet under my head as a pillow, covered me with a Boer blanket which he had taken from a dead man, and then went to look after some other poor beggar. I shall never forget the horrors of that night as long as I live. In addition to the agony which my wound gave me, I had two sharp stones running into my back, I was soaked to the skin and bitterly cold, but had an awful thirst; the torrents of rain never stopped. On one side of me was a Gordon Highlander in raving delirium, and on the other a Boer who had had his leg shattered by a shell, and who gave vent to the most heart-rending cries and groans. War is a funny game, mother, and no one can realize what its grim horrors are till they see it in all its barbarous reality. I laid out in the rain the whole of the night, and at daybreak was put into a doolie by a doctor, and some natives carried me down to the station. The ground was awfully rough, and they dropped me twice; I fainted both times. I was sent down to Ladysmith in the hospital train; from the station I was conveyed to the chapel (officers' hospital) in a bullock cart, the jolting of which made me faint again. I was the last officer taken in. I was then put to bed, and my wound was dressed just 17 hours after I was hit. They gave me some beef tea, which was the first food I had had for 27 hours."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 25 March 2016

Shrapnel Wounds Worst
Topic: Military Medical

Shrapnel Wounds Worst, Because of Bad Infection

The Pittsburgh Gazette Times, 13 February 1915

New York, Feb. 12.—Shrapnel, causing infection, makes the most troublesome wounds of the present war, but bayonet wounds are the most deadly, according to Professor Walton Martin of the department of surgery of Columbia university, who was recently engaged in the American hospital in Paris and who was a speaker today at the alumni day exercises at Columbia. The number of soldiers wounded by bayonets who reach the hospital is small, the surgeon said, and from his experience behind the British and French trenches he was convinced that few men this wounded ever left the trenches alive.

Fragments of uniforms, wood and stone and chunks of soil were probed out of the wounds of soldiers felled by shrapnel, Dr. Martin said.

"The great danger is from infection," he continued. "Shrapnel makes a big wound going in and a big wound coming out." Out of 100 cases under his charge 82 wounds were caused by shrapnel and every one of these was infected. Of those due to rifle bullets one-fifth were clean and the infection in the others was milder than that made by shrapnel. In the 100 cases there was only one bayonet wound.

One lesson taught by this wart, he stated, is the necessity for a large base hospital behind the fighting lines, as the fatality list increases according to the distance the wounded have to be moved. A deplorable circumstance in his connection, he noted, is that the wounded can be taken out of the trenches only at night.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Analyze Wound Cause
Topic: Military Medical

Analyze Wound Cause

Most of War Injuries Result of Firearm Action

Toledo Blade, Toledo, Ohio, 18 March 1915

The subject of war wounds from firearms is of special interest to the reading public at this time:

1.     Because the recent improvements in armaments have brought about interesting changes in the source and character of wounds.

2.     In the case of lodged balls, and in bone injuries, the character of the injury through the medium of X-ray evidence gives a striking exhibit of the wounded part.

3.     A knowledge of first aid to the injured is so essential in these days of preventive medicine that modern civilization expects people generally to become familiar with the causation of war wounds, and the most effective means of ameliorating suffering while one is in the presence of the wounded, in the absence of a surgeon. With this end in view, every officer and soldier of the line in all armies is taught first aid to the injured.

War wounds are mostly caused by firearms, while a few, not exceeding 3 per cent., are cause by bayonets, swords, lances. Wounds by firearms are inflicted by the so-called hand weapons, like the military rifle, pistol, revolver and the military arms.

In our civil war 90 per cent. of gunshot wounds were inflicted by the hand rifle, pistol and revolver; 5 per cent. by artillery and about 3 per cent. by the bayonets, swords and other cutting instruments.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 30 January 2016

Military Surgery Mean Treating of Infected Wounds
Topic: Military Medical

Military Surgery Mean Treating of Infected Wounds

American Doctor Home from Berlin Tells of Hospital with 1,000 Sufferers

Ludington Daily News, Ludington, Michigan, 24 August 1916

Military Surgery No. 2 …

Berlin, Germany, Aug. 24.—(via Amsterdam.)—Dr. Jacob R. Buchbinder of Chicago has just passed through Berlin on his way to Norway, whence he will return to the United States early in September after six months of surgical practice at Naumburg, in the military hospital taken over by a number of American physicians. Dr. Buchbinder says he is glad he is going home, though his experience has been highly valuable to him.

Verdun Patients Seriously Wounded

"Military surgery," he said to me before leaving Berlin, "is different from civil surgery. It is like doing railroad or stockyard work on a large scale. Most of the wounded when the reached us were infected, which makes the practice totally different. We had 1,000 beds under our charge and all were filled when I left, many cases from the Somme and Verdun. The last transports were from the east front. The Verdun patients were nearly all suffering from shell wounds of grave character, while those from the Somme were wounded almost entirely by bullets from machine guns. Many had been wounded more than once.

"These were the first bullet wounds we had seen in months, for during ordinary trench fighting most of the wounded are injured by shrapnel, shells, bombs or grenades. The soldiers were all confident that the west front would hold out, but said the fighting had ceased being war and had become butchery. No, I did not see any bayonet wounds. As a matter of fact I have never seen one and I was never able to hear of one, though I inquired often. Most of the soldiers injured in hand to hand fighting are wounded by hand grenades. I did not see any dumdum bullets.

"We were kindly treated even during the days of the American crisis. Everywhere there was a desire to cooperate with us. We were always supported by the German surgical corps and the war ministry. We were promised serious cases and the promise was kept to the letter. I came to Germany fearing that I would find a general prejudice against Americans, which would make it difficult to live here. I had no trouble personally of any sort. Two of our party were spoken to on trains for talking English, but obviously it was by some one who had been embittered against the English because of special losses."

Dr Buchbinder said the German sanitary service filled him with admiration and he believed that it sis all that could be done under the exceptional difficulties. The care for details was really astonishing.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 31 January 2016 3:42 PM EST

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