The Impact of Medical Treatment in WW1

Peelar Forde, Cassandra J. Perez



How did World War 1 change warfare?

World War 1 was the war that changed warfare, especially with the medical treatment. Medical treatment made an impact on warfare that changed how we look at war today. Medical treatment was based on how the soldiers were taken care of after being injured after battle, and of course the process of treating a wounded soldier. World War 1 changed warfare by the improvement in military medicine which was creating a more reliable system.

medical treatment 1             medical treatment 2
Soldiers were injured in so many ways, there needed to be something we could do to help. Ways soldiers were to get hurt could have affected the entire battle. Trench foot was one of the injuries that most of the men caught. Standing in the water for a long period of time in a trench results to trench foot where infection leads the flesh of the foot to decay and die. Leg wounds were also common as injuries in World War 1, amputation was often necessary. These leg wounds and arm injuries were often caused by high explosive artillery shells. Artillery messed with the soldiers bodies, twisting tissue and splintering bones. Just 12% of wounds recorded were to the torso. Many soldiers hit here never made it to a hospital. So their injuries were never recorded.

medical treatment 3

The process of treating an injured soldier was clearly listed to first carry the patient on stretcher bearers to a regimental aid post. There they will carry it to a motor ambulance and drive to a casualty clearing station to do paperwork and prepare the patient for travel and transportation. From there they then put the patient on an ambulance train to a stable base hospital where all the treatment takes place. “The journey would have been familiar to many wounded soldiers” ( A wounded soldier could be taken away from battlefield to base hospital as quickly as less than 24 hours.

Medical treatment impacted warfare when blood was given and stored the British army was the first to begin the routine use of blood transfusion in treating wounded soldiers. Blood was transferred directly from one person to another. The US army doctor, Captain Oswald Robertson was the one “Who realized the need to stock pile blood before casualties arrived”. He noticed that this was a better way to have blood ready for upcoming soldiers. He established, “The first blood bank on the western front in 1917, using sodium citrate to prevent the blood from coagulating and becoming useable”. For up to 28 days blood was kept on ice and eventually transported to casually clearing stations for use in life-saving surgery (where it was needed most). Blood transfusion had a huge impact on warfare because it was extremely helpful and saved many lives. Without storing or transferring blood to the injured soldiers, many of them could have died.

In conclusion, World War 1 changed warfare by the little things that made a difference of how we do things now during war specifically in medical treatment. A perfect example is the way soldiers were injured, such as being in trenches they would get trench foot from being in the dirty water too much. Now they put sand bags sand wooden walls against the side of the trenches to keep the water out so you don’t have to suffer from the terrible infection. Also, if it wasn’t for the blood bank, many more soldiers would have died sooner if they didn’t get the blood transmitted to them immediately. World War 1 changed warfare by making it easier to defend, protect, and strategize during battle. WW1 was obviously different from previous and past wars by the technology improvement, artillery, medical treatment strategies, alliances, etc.

Sources: MLA Citation Format

“How Did WW1 Change the Way We Treat War Injuries Today?” BBC News. BBC. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.

“World War One.” Making the Modern World -. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.

“Medical Treatments in World War I.” 10 Oct. 2010. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.

Mount, Harry. “The First World War: The War That Changed Us All.” 12 Oct. 2012. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.

“Was World War I Good for Medicine.” Web. 23 Oct. 2014.

Video link:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s