Monday, August 25, 2008

Surgery, 1864

Here's some more interesting living history from this past weekend's Voices of the Land festival. This replica of a Civil War hospital tent includes some of the actual surgical instruments used on the battlefield in the 1860s. The good doctor is explaining why so many limbs had to be amputated: the bullets used at the time would shatter bones, and the primitive medical facilities could not mend them. Amputation was the only solution, or the soldier would risk a gangrenous infection that would most likely kill him. I won't go into the details of how the amputations were done - it doesn't make very pleasant breakfast reading. Soldiers were given laudanum, an opium-based painkiller. After the war, many Civil War veterans had what was known as the "good soldier's disease," a euphemism for opium addiction.
Tomorrow: living history with a spark.

6 comments:

Saretta said...

Fascinating! But makes me glad I live now and not then, healthcare-wise!

Patty said...

Hi again. I stopped by a few weeks ago to view your photos. I use to live in Koxville and enjoy reading your post.
This is a great shot. We have a lot of civil war re-enactments here so I have seen some of those tools. Very crude, and makes me glad that we have modern things now.

marley said...

I hope that is a fake foot! Very interesting, I look forward to tomorrow!

babooshka said...

Have I stumbled into Victorian ER! Queen Victotia apparently had the same ahem recreational habit, along with the odd joint for period pains( sorry all you blokes who have have winced at that.)I love saying she was
a junkie,I'm not a royalist. Really gruesome post. Be as CSI graphic as you like for me.

Jim said...

Ouch.

Rambling Round said...

I love living history exhibits. Looks like this doc has everything he needs!