Medical Practices of the Civil War

The civil war was the bloodiest war in American History and a war that was responsible for more deaths than all of the American wars combined. The story of the civil war in terms of healthcare options for solders was a devastating one and there was often little to no help available for many of the soldiers who were injured throughout the war. Many people besides soldiers did not have access to the quality medications that we enjoy having access to today either. When the civil war struck the country was in no condition to wage war and the state of the healthcare situation in America at the time was very dire indeed. As this was way before the days that you could get pain killers readily from a doctor, the people who fought the civil war were at an inconvenience in terms of getting medication when it was needed. In terms of choosing medications like pain killers and getting it delivered to them, this was obviously not an option because there were no computers in these days.

In the beginning of the civil war the surgeon general’s department of the US had a little above 100 surgeons and at least 24 of these surgeons joined the confederate side. In addition to this the hospitals that were present on battle fields only consisted of a tent with one surgeon and nothing more. This goes to show you how far the field of medicine was from being adequate to help the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who died on the battle field. During this time the armies of the confederate states and the US relied on male nurses that were untrained in the medical field to treat those who were wounded. It was not until the now famous Dorothea Dix went to Washington to give her services that female nurses were trained and put to use tending the wounded on the US side of the war.