The Development of Orhtopedic Surgery During the Civil War
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This study explores the procedures of the orthopedic surgeons of both the Union and Confederate armies as they evolved amid the changing military technology of the' American Civil War. I intend to show how the newly invented Minie ball created devastating wounds which brought about the need for increased surgical intervention. Difficulties arose, however, as the Civil War surgeons struggled to close the gap that had been created between the technological advances of warfare and medical knowledge. While engineers increased the destructive capabilities of the soldiers, medical personnel attempted to perfect the surgical techniques that the creation of anesthesia had recently opened. Although the majority of surgeons of the Civil War had little surgical experience or training before the war, they quickly devised a prudent plan for diagnosing and treating the complex wounds caused by the Minie ball. By the end of the fighting, these doctors had used their experience with wounds and surgical training to become some of the most skilled surgeons in the world. In this way, these men contributed greatly to providing the best possible medical care for the wounded soldiers of the Civil War.