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Medical breakthroughs and war

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  • Medical breakthroughs and war

    IIRC ( I most likely shouldn't start a thread that way, but I did!), the ACW was the first war where they used morphine to combat the pain and the Korean War was the first with organized MASH units. I was wondering if WWI, WWII, or any other wars saw breakthoughs in medical care for the troops and what they were?

  • #2
    WWII had widespread use of penicillin for the Allied forces, credited with saving 10-15% of the wounded from death according to wiki. But with Wiki, trust but verify.

    As for WWI, that's when they first diagnosed people with PTSD, but they called it shell shock.
    How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
    275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

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    • #3
      Civil War:

      surgeons close to battle
      use of forward treatment facilities
      general use of ambulance vehicles

      WWI:
      hospital trains
      hospital ships
      evac to rear treatment facilities for seriously wounded
      use of general anesthesia for surgery

      WWII:

      battalion aid stations
      unit medical personnel
      battle dressings, sulfa and morphine at soldier level
      troops instructed in individual first aid
      specified medical evac system
      medics trained in specific treatmetn and evac techniques
      field hospitals
      trained anesthesiologists
      first x-rays for hospital units
      use of plasma and other volume expanders
      radio communications

      note: standard antibiotic throughout most of WWII was sulfa powder. PCN not available until late in war.
      hospital trains and ships

      Korean War:

      MASH - specialized surgeons and personnel at forward area
      helicopter evac
      antibiotics
      x-rays now standard
      improved communications now standard
      applications of knowledge about combat casualties generally applied
      psychiatrists now at forward treament facilities
      understanding of "shell shock/combat fatigue"

      Viet Nam

      major advances in fast air evac
      major advances in immediate trauma care
      major advances in antibiotics and treament options
      major advances in post-combat psychiatric care

      Cold War:

      loss of physicians at Battalion levels (end of BerryPlan)
      creation of militry physician assistants as new battalion medical officers for manuever units (The First 400)
      improvements in all fields of medicine and medical knowledge based on experience, research and training
      organic transport of wounded standard
      CBR medical training standard
      CPR and rescuscitative techniques standard (CPR taught to troops)
      organic mobility of Bn Aid Stations standard (except Airborne and a few others)
      medical equippage remains at WWII/Korea issue levels for Battalion

      By no means a complete list, and quite likely some errors as well, but general by what I recall. Note the lack of advancement re TOE equippage from WWII/Korea standards.
      Last edited by Mountain Man; 22 Jul 07, 14:31.

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      • #4
        Thanks guys! This forum doesn't get alot of traffic, so it was great to get so much information so quickly!

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        • #5
          WWII CIB theater, first use of helicopters for medevac

          HP
          "Ask not what your country can do for you"

          Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

          you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Half Pint View Post
            WWII CIB theater, first use of helicopters for medevac

            HP
            Also, in WWII, the elimination of "gas gangarene," plus the regular dusting of battlefields and men with DDT to prevent typhus outbreaks and the many other infections that arose from the clouds of flies that were drawn to unburied corpses.
            "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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            • #7
              WWII saw another drug being introduced and used on a large scale for the first time-sulfa drugs. IG Farben of Germany started working on those in early 1930 but it wasn't until late 1930s that a number of countries perfected the technology. WWII was the first widespread application. In WWII movies when you see a packet being torn open and powder sprinkled onto a wound that is sulfa powder. Sulfa drugs are very good but they're bacteriostatic meaning rather than punch holes in bacteria shells like penicillin they just suppress bacterial growth for a while. In the first minutes post-injury when the wound is dirty this is very desirable.

              So many tons of sulfa powder were dumped on wounds in WWII that bacteria quickly developed resistance so the drug is rarely used today, at least not for trauma applications.

              Wikipedia has a story.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfa_drugs

              "Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a ugly brawl."
              --Frederick II, King of Prussia

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              • #8
                As the first and only effective antibiotic available in the years before Penicillin, sulfa drugs continued to thrive through the early years of World War II. They are credited with saving the lives of tens of thousands of patients including Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr. (son of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt) (in 1936) and Winston Churchill. Sulfa had a central role in preventing wound infections during the war. American soldiers were issued a first aid kit containing sulfa powder and were told to sprinkle it on any open wound
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfonamide_(medicine)

                Winston Churchill

                Winston Churchill, who is reported to have been cured twice of pneumonia with sulfapyridine

                http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-3456409.html
                FoxNEWS "The World is unfair and we are running scared"

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                • #9
                  Great catch guys!

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