Medical Treatment

Peter Tran and Tashawn Vallespi                                                        10/23/14
9.2 World History

How did World War I change warfare? Our topic of research is Medical treatment during WWI and how it improved (such as machines and methods used as well as the diseases and injuries treated). In this response, we, Peter Tran and Tashawn Vallespi, will be describing how medical treatment was utilized during WWI and how it changed warfare.
Originally, when USA entered the war, they did not have an established medical corps to support their armed forces. “From a medical standpoint, World War I was a miserable and bloody affair. In less than a year the American armed forces suffered more than 318,000 casualties, of which 120,000 were deaths. Almost 6,000 of these casualties were North Carolinian (1).” This quote was from a page written by John Campbell. It shows the severity of the casualties caused in WWI and how much medical treatment was needed in the war. “When it became absolutely necessary, the United States developed a medical corps.”
However, military medicine had not changed much in the fifty years between the American Civil War and WWI. There was only salt water to rinse wounds, and there was no medication to stop infection once it had started. But advances in some medical techniques kept pace with the mass destruction of war. Some diseases and injuries that need to be dealt with included Influenza, trench fever, Dysentery, and Typhoid fever. Some medical tools they used during the war included X-ray equipment (used to locate bullets and shrapnel in an injured soldier’s body), scalpels for surgery, etc. Symptoms of these diseases is fever, chills, rash, bone and joint pain, the coughing up of blood, etc.
In conclusion, World War 1 changed warfare through medical treatment by advancing in a series of ways. Some of these include introducing x-ray equipment used for extraction of bullets and shrapnel. USA also started a medical corps for the army during World War 1.

Text reprinted with permission from Tar Heel Junior Historian, Spring 1993 (1)


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