Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Field Case Surgical Set

From: americanhistory.si.edu

Many of the surgical sets used during the American Civil War were made to the specifications of the Union Army. This Civil War surgical set was made by George Tiemann & Company of New York City. Tiemann, who emigrated to America from Germany in 1826, was considered one of the finest surgical instrument makers of the 19th century.

This set contains instruments needed for wounds inflicted on a battlefield— amputation knives, saws, a tourniquet, retractors, and bone and bullet forceps. The mortality rate from wounds inflicted on the battlefield was very high. Damage done by a minie ball to an arm or a leg could be extensive, creating gaping holes, shattering bones, and tearing muscles. Over 250,000 wounds from bullets and almost 30,000 amputations were recorded during four years of war. It was often more prudent to amputate the limb before infection set in.

Also included in the case are eleven admission and matriculation cards from the Medical College of Ohio. Issued to John B. Cline, the cards date from 1850 to 1853, and allow admission to classes such as "Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children," and "Materia Medica and Jurisprudence."

The surgical set includes forty-four instruments housed in a rosewood case with brass trim.


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