Western Front Context - Medicine 1914

Aseptic Surgery

  • It was known that bacteria caused disease
    • medical staff has to scrub into surgery
  • Rubber gloves and gowns were to be worn
  • Air was sterilised
    • pumped over a heating system
  • Autoclave used to sterilyse surgical instruments 
    • Used boiling water
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X-Rays

  • By 1914 radiology departments were opening in some hospitals
  • It has enormous potential in a war context
    • See internal injuries
    • Remains of bullets and shrapnel 
  • Only possible if portable machines were developed
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Blood Transfusions

  • Accidents, injuries and surgery had been a major cause of death before 20th century
  • Many experiments in blood tranfusuions had been attempted
  • 1905 blood types had been identified
  • Widespread transfusions wasn't yet possible becuase there was no way to store blood
    • Transfusions had to be done immediatly with the donar standing next to the paitent with a tube
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