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Early X-Ray of Civil War wound

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  • Early X-Ray of Civil War wound

    I was suprised and amazed to see this Pic, showing an 1896 X-ray of one H. P. Bowditch, who recieved a bullet in the elbow and was still carrrying the fragments 30 years later. For me this really brings home how the ACW was at the cusp of the modern age.

    from the website


    "Ernest Amory Codman (1868-1952)
    Radiograph of the Right Elbow of Henry Pickering Bowditch, Showing Fragments of Bullet Received at New Hope Church during the Civil War, circa 1896.
    Gift of Mrs. Harold Bowditch to the Library of Harvard Medical School, 1968.

    After completing his medical studies, Ernest Amory Codman (1868-1952) became Assistant in Anatomy at Harvard Medical School and, in 1896, began to consider the utility of radiography for the study of the anatomy of bones and the movement of joints. Around this period, Codman took an X-ray of the elbow of H. P. Bowditch, showing fragments of a bullet he had received on November 27, 1863, when he was shot in the forearm, leading a charge at New Hope Church. Codman, who would marry Bowditch’s niece, Katherine, in 1899, presented the X-ray plate as a Christmas gift."

    One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions - Admiral Grace Hopper

    "The eunuch should not take pride in his chastity."
    Wu Cheng'en Monkey

  • #2
    There was a good episode of Dark Matters on the Science channel recently about early X-rays. Interesting stuff. A German doctor emigrated to the US and invented what he named the Cornell Tube (named after the school where I he either taught or attended). The tube was a lead-treated glass that could allow a reliable application of X-rays without the immediate clear damage of X-Ray burns. The Cornell tube saw decades of use for cosmetic procedures. It X-Rays were marketed to women for the cosmetic benifets that they can removal of unwanted hair, facial hair, body hair etc. And it could kill off bacteria and cure ACNE.

    Of course the sub-cellular damage being caused by the X-rays would cause serious cosmetic injury to many of the patiants in the following decades. No federal alarm was raised until 1929, and the machines were still being used illegally through the 1940's.


    • #3
      Originally posted by Chukka View Post
      "Ernest Amory Codman (1868-1952)
      Concerning there was no adequate protection from the rays until well into XX century, it amazes me how long did he live. Those early era radiology researchers were self-sacrificing heroes!
      "Keep Calm. Use Less X's"


      • #4
        Thanks for sharing

        Have never seen that before


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