Treatment of Wounds

Medical Services
Treatment of Wounds
Medical Hygeine
Evacuation of the Wounded
Amputation Instruments and Chart
Causes of death in British Army hospitals 1812-1814
Lists of British officers wounded and killed in the Peninsula

Ragged wounds would be treated by using a butterfly bandage, which was made of sticking plaster and bandage. It was first attached to one side of the wound and drawn tightly to meet the other side and then being stuck to that. A bandage would help keep everything in place and allow the wound to heal together.

Stitches were made from cotton thread or sinew and were used to pull together larger wounds.

Bayonets, swords and knives left deep puncture wounds were usually fatal if they were in the chest or abdomen as there was little the medical staff could do about them. To treat these surgeons often let the wound bleed for a while to clean it of dirt or clothing material and in many cases actually increased the width of the injury to boost the exit of unwanted matter.

Even slight musketball wounds carried the deadly potential of infection as the projectile would take with it small pieces of uniform, as well as dirt. If it hit bone then the resulting splinters added to the bacterial danger and there was always the risk of straight out just bleeding to death.

Deeply embedded musketballs - below the depth of a surgeon's finger - were regularly left inside the body and allowed to work themselves into a shallower position. Many veterans carried the leaden balls inside them for the rest of their lives.


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