Thursday, October 3, 2013

Reed B. Bontecou, M.D.--His Role in Civil War Surgery and Medical Photography


(ABSTRACT) This article on the subject of Civil War injuries and their surgical repair is devoted to Reed B. Bontecou, M.D., a New York surgeon who contributed greatly to the use of photography to document the casualties of the battlefield as seen in the Northern as well as the Southern states. Photographs of the wounded soldiers helped to verify the severity of their injuries, and helped to determine the degree and amount of the post-war pension payments. These photographs were one of the largest sources which were used in the creation of the Otis Archives of the present-day National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, D.C. Some of the wounded soldiers' photographs in the Otis Archives demonstrate the use of plastic surgery techniques to repair the wounded face, head and neck, torso, and the extremities by only a handful of Northern and Confederate surgeons including Gurdon Buck, J.S. Gouley and Henry B. Sands of New York City; H. Culbertson, U.S.V. of Madison, Wisconsin; J. Cooper McKee of Washington, D.C., W.W. Keen, Jr. of Philadelphia; and C.B. Gibson, P.A.C.S. of Richmond; S.H. Stout of Tennessee; and J.B. Bean, a dentist of Chattanooga.


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