Civil War Medicine.

William B. Bean, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1966;118(5):499-500. doi:10.1001/archinte.1966.00290170087017.
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Civil War Medicine is a bird's eye view of what is undoubtedly the most discouraging period in the history of American medicine. From the medical point of view, it was one of the most depressing wars ever fought. A good case might be made that the net survival would have been higher and the morbidity substantially reduced if there had been no medicines and no doctors around. The basis for this case, which does not come out directly in Brooks' overview of medicine in the Civil War, lies in the fact that this was the only major war fought between the discovery and very wide utilization of anesthesia on the one hand, and the comprehension of the practical aspects of cleanliness, antisepsis, and asepsis on the other. Thus, it came about that the surgeon could operate with a good deal of relaxation and freedom, realizing that he was not at


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