battlefield surgery

Treatment on the Battlefield

The wounded soldier had a leather tourniquet tied above the place where the cutting would be done; which would stop some of the bleeding. Then a knife was used to slice down to the bone, arteries pinned out of the way and then the surgeon would begin the dirty work with bone saw. Usually the sawing would take under a minute to finish. Then, the arteries were sewn up and linen bandages were applied to the wound. Finally after everything was complete they would place a wool cap over the stump. When in surgery, ordinary soldiers bit down on a piece of wood, while the officers were offered rum or alcohol to help with the pain.

The Marquis of Anglesey - Battle of Waterloo, Belgium

The Marquis of Anglesey, Henry Paget (1768-1854), lost his leg during the battle of Waterloo in 1815. He received a shot in the knee, and surgeons decided they had to amputate the leg. Paget took to wearing an artificial leg designed by London limb maker James Potts, which became known as the 'Anglesey'. 

 

His amputated leg was buried in a garden near the battlefield in Belgium, and the owner of the garden planted a weeping willow on the site. The leg was dug up when Paget died nearly 40 years later, and re-buried with him.

Instruments

Amputation was the choice for soldiers who suffered badly broken bones. Otherwise they had little chance of saving the injured limb. Before this conflict, surgeons would usually wait up to 20 days after the soldier received the wound. They thought that the wounded should have a little time to recover before the surgery. This caused only more pain and more men died waiting for the planned surgery date.

The Marquis of Anglesey, Henry Paget (1768-1854), lost his leg during the battle of Waterloo in 1815. He received a shot in the knee, and surgeons decided they had to amputate the leg. Paget took to wearing an artificial leg designed by London limb maker James Potts, which became known as the 'Anglesey'. 

 

His amputated leg was buried in a garden near the battlefield in Belgium, and the owner of the garden planted a weeping willow on the site. The leg was dug up when Paget died nearly 40 years later, and re-buried with him.

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