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Did WW1 help or hinder medicine?

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"The First World War helped more than it hindered progress in Medicine" - Do you agree? This essay will discuss whether WWI had a positive or negative impact on the history of medicine taking into account future impacts and concluding whether any progress made was worth the amount of deaths from the devastating war. Firstly, the First World War did help medicine as although there were many deaths, the war allowed doctors to practice medical skills and also allowed them to improve their skills in dealing with wounds. This was evident as surgeons from this found new ways to repair broken bones, and performed skin grafts. The fact that there were many more wounds resulted in a need to find new solutions and so new techniques were introduced such as plastic surgery. In particular, Harold Gilles had created a unit to treat horrific wounds from World War One and became the first plastic surgeon to consider a patient's appearance. ...read more.


As well as this being life-saving at the time, it had a very large influence on the future as it led to voluntary blood donations in London in 1920 and blood banks in 1930. Therefore research could also be continued. A huge problem faced by surgeons on the battle line was the unhygienic and filthy conditions filled with bacteria, and therefore tis allowed doctors to find new ways of dealing with the filth. Bacteria was entering the bodies of wounded soldiers resulting in Gas Gangrene, however, Henry Dakin with Alexis Carrel created the Carrel-Dakin solution which was an antiseptic to combat the bacteria. This then resulted in research into antiseptics which then led to aseptic. There was a very low standard of health among recruits of the army and this worried the government about the population's health which led to action being taken. This including making health care home better as well as promising soldiers who fought good housing upon arrival home and so, the government got rid of the slum housing and built council housing which was much more sanitary. ...read more.


There was also the problem of internal bleeding and infection. The new technology of weapons also made casualties even worse and led to huge death rates. Finally, although communications in Britain were improved, international communications were very much hindered resulting in no new knowledge being passed on which means a potential cure could not have been used. Overall, as it can be seen from the argument, the number of positives outweighs the negatives. Personally, I believe the First World War helped medicine more as the impact on the future was absolutely crucial with antiseptics, medical cards, health standards and blood transfusions being used still today which emphasises their importance. However, there were so many deaths and I believe that although there were so many deaths, the medicine improved during the war and so the start of the war was the worst but as antiseptics, X-Rays and blood transfusions were used, everything began to drastically improve which allows me to conclude that WW1 helped the history of medicine. ?? ?? ?? ?? Dillon Nathwani 25/02/2012 ...read more.

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