Medical Treatment in World War I by Imani Williams

Imani Williams
October 22nd, 2014
How Did World War I Change Warfare?

World War I changed warfare in many ways, especially medical treatment. From the materials they used to mental health, Medical treatment has built itself up from World War I. Key developments are still used from World War I today in the 21st century.
Wounds and death are obviously common in war, but more soldiers have died from disease than the enemy. Medical treatment was used in the war to help wounded soldiers from infections, disorders, etc. When soldiers had infections like trench foot or disorders with their mental health, medical treatment was made and used in the war.
Some tools/medicine developed in World War I were surgeons saws, quinine (a medicine to treat fevers), x-ray equipment to locate bullets, and much more. Medical chests doctors and nurses carried around contained bottles with powdered and liquid medication, pharmaceutical scales for weighing powders and the needle for the syringe. Some of these tools are still used today.
Mental health was a big issue in World War I. Being involved in warfare has dramatic consequences for the mental health of people in the military. Witnessing acts of warfare like killing, torture, and devastation causes mental health consequences. During this war, British psychiatrists saw a condition named shell shock. Shell shock is the psychological disturbance caused by prolonged exposure to active warfare, especially being under bombardment. Symptoms of shell shock include stuttering, paralysis, insomnia, confusion, anxiety attacks, hallucinations, blindness, deafness, vomiting, heart problems and much more. Disciplinary treatment and Electric Shock Treatment were often used, though shock treatment is not used anymore.
We still use many of the key developments people used in World War I today. First, we use shock treatment of wounds from the use of saline, through direct donor-to-patient blood transfusions and the development of techniques to store blood have helped shape much of modern practice. Also, “ infected wounds are rarely seen today because of antibiotics, discovered in 1928.” From the article “BBC iWonder – How did WW1 change the way we treat war injuries today?” , accessed on October 24th 2014. Our understanding of treating wounds owes much to the experimentation in WWI.
In conclusion, a lot of medical treatment was used in World War I, and we still use some techniques and medicines today thanks to the medical treatment in WWI.


(Unknown Author,, accessed on October 24th 2014.)
(Pols, Hans and Oak, Stephanie. National Institutes of Health,, accessed on October 20th 2014.)
(Campbell, John, accessed on October 20th 2014.)
(, accessed on October 21st 2014.)
(Anderson, Julie, accessed on October 24th 2014.)


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