Handout for a presentation to romance writers July 2008 on wound (trauma) surgery as practiced in Europe between 1500 - 1830. Since the writers tend to focus on England, the timeline of events and people is biased toward Great Britain.
Trauma Surgery in Early Modern Europe
For Beau Monde and Hearts through History, July 30, 2008
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Created: July 19, 2008. Updated: Aug 1, 2008
Workshop Description: Separating fact from fiction, this presentation will provide some basic
understanding of pre-anesthesia wound treatment 1500 – 1800 and recommendations for researching
your own questions in the history of medicine. Not for the faint of stomach, topics will include myth
busting about amputation and methods of treating cuts, stabs, arrow and gunshot removal, fractures
and dislocations, and head trauma.
“The course of illness was not often dramatically altered or shortened or terminated… surgery entailed
weeks of daily wound care rather than dramatic interventions that characterize modern operative
surgery”. - Mary E. Fissel, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Spring 2008 V82no1, page 14.
“Why, just fifty years ago, they tho