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Describe the Effects War Had On Medicine.

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DESCRIBE THE EFFECTS WAR HAD ON MEDICINE As years of experience have shown, war can be very destructive and can cause thousands of deaths. The effect of war can be tremendous on the people living in the countries involved. However, it could be argued that different wars have contributed in different ways to the change in history. In some cases, a war has made a new change to history but in other cases wars can cause so much destruction that they have stopped a new development from taking place altogether. However, sometimes war can speed up a change hence would act as a catalyst for change. I will be looking at how previous wars have speeded up the development of medicine and in particular the Crimean war, the first and Second World War. In the early 16th century, surgery used very painful, and in most cases incorrect methods. This was due to the lack of knowledge and lack of technology doctors had during this time. Ambroise Par� was one of the best surgeons during the Renaissance period. In fact, he is one of the earliest examples of army surgeons that developed treatments as a result of the war. One of the most common injuries during a war is gunshots and before Par�'s discovery, pouring boiling oil onto them treated the wounds. However, as Par� discovered during the war, wounds heal more quickly if boiling oil is not used; it causes a lot of pain and in many cases the patient dies within hours. Par� made this discovery while on the battlefield because a lot of the soldiers had been wounded by gunshots but his supply of boiling oil had run out. So out of desperation to help the soldiers quickly he made his own mixture of egg yolks, oil of roses and turpentine and applied this mixture to the wounds of the remaining soldiers. ...read more.


She would not have had money to fund a nursing school either since she wouldn't have had funds from supporters. Her books on nursing wouldn't have been published if it weren't for her experience of the war either. It could be argued that she didn't make any scientific discoveries, but rather she just introduced new cleaning methods. However, the war hadn't hindered medical changes and the cleaning methods were a step towards the fight against infection inspiring later medical discoveries like antiseptic. Hence the Crimean war could be seen as a useful contribution in pushing for the improvement of medicine. Nightingale's cleaning methods were followed by the discovery of germs and antiseptic, but under the pressure of wars this was not enough as infected wounds were still common during the first world war. Also, the Crimean war lacked of medical technology and surgery was not that advanced, blood transfusions for example had been tried out numerous times but were often not successful. However, it inspired doctors to make new discoveries, mainly achieved in the urgency of the First World War. The First World War had the most effect on the development of medicine. New weapons caused new injuries leading to new medical developments. It was a 'total' war', everybody was affected. Hence a lot of casualties during the war, giving surgeons the opportunity to experiment with new techniques. Surgeons working in battlefield hospitals had to find treatments to a wound quickly and worked together, for the sake of the war, which lead to these medical developments. The broken bones caused by the war lead to new medical techniques to repair them. Improvements in skin grafts formed the basis of plastic surgery later on. Head wounds were common leading to improvements of eye, ear, nose, throat, and advanced brain surgery as a result of experimentation on the numerous head wounds. During the war it was difficult to prevent a wound from being infected, a bullet carries infection into the body. ...read more.


In conclusion, the wars of the renaissance time, the Crimean war, the first and the second world war all contributed a great deal to the development of medicine. Many doctors including Par� were inspired to find less painful treatments, which lead on to the discovery of anaesthetic later on. The Crimean war gave Florence Nightingale the chance to inspire many doctors and hospitals to use clean methods, which lead onto the discovery of infection and antiseptic. The First World War improved the risk of infection since doctors were also inspired by the thousands of infected wounds to find a treatment. The First World War also helped bring about modern technology like increased use of x-ray machines in surgery and also improved the development of many surgeries including for head wounds and blood transfusions. Finally the Second World War also furthered the development of medicine as it improved the medical services and inspired the government to provide NHS, which was clearly a huge improvement to the health of many people. It also brought about the mass application of antibiotics, which was the result of the discovery of penicillin, inspired by the First World War and its mass production during the Second World War. The first world war brought about the most development of medicine and change because it was a 'total war' and this meant it involve everybody, hence bringing together huge numbers of doctors and scientists that worked together under the pressures of war, finding new treatments and medical developments. However it could be argued that medical developments inspired by these wars were not always useful or successful. But, I have concluded that where one war hinders the medical development often another war makes up for it and develops on what has been discovered. In some cases like the discovery of antiseptic or anaesthetic the war was not the only cause of these discoveries. However the wars have inspired doctors to investigate these and with other added factors have made these discoveries, hence wars have at least contributed to the discovery of a development in medicine. ...read more.

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