Civil War

Hailey Taylor

How advanced was health care during the Civil War?

During the Civil War Germ theory had not been widely accepted in the medical world and modernized antiseptics, which could have decreased the spread of bacteria and diseases, did not exist. Chloroform and whiskey were the main antiseptics used during the Civil war. The constant demand of the sick and injured sped up the process of modernizing medicine and technology.
Jonathan Letterman created an ambulance system and evacuation plans depending the severity of the wounded solider. William Hammond designed new layouts for hospital and wrote a book on hygiene to improve the health of soldiers. Clara Barton brought professional efficient care givers to the battle fields. These advanced organized practices are what brought modernization to health care during the Civil War.
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When a solider was wounded on the battlefield they were bandaged up by nurses as quickly as possible and were given whiskey or morphine to ease the pain. If the wound was serious then they were taken to Letterman's ambulance system and carried to a nearby field hospital. The field hospitals were separated into three categories: mortally wounded, slightly wounded, and surgical cases. As doctors and nurses became experienced with many different preventions and treatments of diseases, anesthetics, and surgical practices, medicine catapulted into the modern era of quality care.