Saturday 21 April 2012

Saxon Surgeon

Almost every army of the period had rather too many underqualified drunken sawbones, as Christopher Duffy confirms in his books, the only notable exception being the Austrian army which tried with some success to regulate and improve the medical profession in its army.  Of course there were always some conscientious surgeons who did what they could with the little knowledge and resources they had. However, in a time without anaesthetics or anti-biotics, and with the medical profession lacking most of the knowledge that medicine has acquired since the 19th century, any wound on the battlefield was a potential death sentence; as Christopher Duffy says, every soldier of the period had to face battle "in the knowledge that the slightest wound might condemn him to the most terrible and lingering death" ("The Military Experience in the Age of Reason", page 318).