Civil War: Treaments of Wounds and Disease

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by ospinae
Last updated 7 years ago

Social Studies

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Civil War: Treaments of Wounds and Disease

Civil War: Treaments of Wounds and Disease

In the Civil War, many people died- more than 600,000. Out of that, 2/3 died of disease. There was very little medical knowledge at the time and many diseases could be avoided if they had used more caution, as we do now.

Doctors and Surgeons operated with bare hands and did not sterilize their equipment.

Many doctors thought pus was a good thing, and they transfered it from patient to patient. It was called laudable pus.

Most wounds soldiers had were of the arms and legs. And with the new types of ammunition, surgeons were forced to amputate, as the best option.


Against common belief, anesthesia actually was available, at least to Union patients.

A doctor’s assistant wrote,It was common to see a doctor with his sleeves rolled up to his elbows, his bare arms as well as his linen apron smeared with blood and his knife…held between his teeth (Sabiston and Lyerly, 6)

Doctors weren't trusted by soldiers.

If you had any wounds in or near the torso, you were considered a goner. You were left to die of blood loss, or "blood poising" as doctors called it.

Most of the time, it was too late to save a soldier, because doctors treated far too late.

Doctors and Surgeons didn't know about germs, therefore didn't know where diseases came from, making them impossible to prevent.

If you can't stop the disease, treat the symptoms.