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US Civil War

How were medical conditions during the American Civil War?

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October 26, 2008 11:21PM

Field hospitals

•They heat them here by digging a long trough in the ground under them, covering it over with old railroad iron & earth, & then building a fire at one end & letting it draw through & go out at the other, as both ends are open--this heats the ground through the middle of the hospital quite hot.

•The surgeon usually had an operating table of a couple of boards between barrels. He usually had a rag soaked with chloroform.

Town Hospitals

•Average 500 Beds

•Most buildings neither heated nor ventilated

•Anyone could wonder in and out of the hospitals freely causing more diseases to spread even more.

•Sanitation was of little concern.

•Before they knew about infection, there was no concern for sterilization of instruments and used bandages littered the floor.

•Doctors moistened stitching thread with their saliva before sewing wounds and sharpened surgical knives on the sole of their boots.