War Surgery 1914–18

World War I resulted in an enormous number of casualties who had sustained filthy contaminated wounds from high explosive shellfire, bomb and mortar blast, and from rifle and machine gun bullets. Such wounds were frequently multiple and severe, and almost invariably became infected.
Publication date:
April 2012
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Editor :
Steven Heys, Thomas Scotland
Language:
English
Illustration :
104 b/w photos, ills, 37 tables
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ISBN : 9781909384378

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Overview
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• A fascinating study of war surgery in World War I, where huge medical developments were made and the foundations of modern war surgery were laid

World War I resulted in an enormous number of casualties who had sustained filthy contaminated wounds from high explosive shellfire, bomb and mortar blast, and from rifle and machine gun bullets. Such wounds were frequently multiple and severe, and almost invariably became infected. Surgical experience from previous conflicts was of little value, and it became quickly apparent that early surgical intervention with radical removal of all dead and revitalised tissue was absolutely vital to help reduce the chances of infections, especially the lethal gas gangrene, from developing.

War Surgery 1914-18 explains how medical services responded to deal with the casualties. It discusses the evacuation pathway, and explains how facilities, particularly casualty clearing stations, evolved to cope with major, multiple wounds to help reduce mortality. There are chapters dealing with the advances made in anaesthesia, resuscitation and blood transfusion, the pathology and microbiology of wounding and diagnostic radiology. There are also chapters dealing with the development of orthopaedic surgery, both on the Western Front and in the United Kingdom, the treatment of abdominal wounds, chest wounds, wounds of the skull and brain, and the development of plastic and reconstructive surgery for those with terribly mutilating facial wounds.

War Surgery 1914-18 contributes greatly to our understanding of the surgery of warfare. Surgeons working in Casualty Clearing Stations during the years 1914-1918 laid the foundations for modern war surgery as practised today in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

REVIEWS

...A most interesting book, both from a World War I historical perspective and from the major changes in medicine that are so well outlined.
British Journal of Surgery

A most valuable addition to our knowledge of the war it is also a tribute to the pioneers of many aspects of surgery - the evacuation may now be by helicopter and the modern equivalent of the Casualty Clearing Station full of high-tech equipment, but the basic principles established in the Great War for the treatment of wounds are just as valid today and are still helping to save British soldiers' lives in Afghanistan.
Bulletin of the Military Historical Society

The writing is clear, concise, expertly suited to those lacking medical knowledge, yet not passée to the expert. The book's many well-chosen illustrations are greatly aided by printing on high quality coated paper. Although it is far too early to name my Great War book of the year, I have little doubt that War Surgery 1914-18 will be a major contender. Very highly recommended.
Stand To! Journal of the Western Front Association

...important reading for anyone involved in war and conflict injuries.
Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery

...an excellent, well presented and well illustrated book, printed on good quality paper... very highly recommended.
Mars & Clio (Newsletter of the British Commission for Military History)

The production value of this book is very high and the quality of maps, text and photography extremely good. Many of the treatments and protocols that we take for granted now developed out of the trial and error of the wartime period. I recommend this book most highly for those interested in developing a deeper appreciation of the complexity and development of both treatment as well as medical logistics during a time of conflict.
Royal Canadian Air Force Journal