PDA

View Full Version : Tending to a Lead ball Shot Wound HELP!!!!!!



Cherchez La Femme
05-05-2013, 12:01 AM
Hi.

I'm new here, but I do need some help! I've run against a bit of a problem when it comes to eighteenth century medicine.

My story takes place in eighteenth century France during the French Revolution. To be more specific it takes place during the Reign of Terror.
My characters are trying to escape the city of Paris and a chase scene ensues. My male lead character gets shot in the side while escaping on a horse (it was a lucky shot).

I have said in the story that shot went though the fleshy part of his side and had broken a rib. I don't know if that would be accurate but for now that's what I have.

Another problem I have is sutures. My main female character is trying to tend to his wounds. They're in hiding and fugitives from the state so there's no way they can get to that sort of help. I'm wondering how they would have stitched some one up?

I know with modern stitches they have a little hooked needle but would a sewing needle have worked in an emergency?

What about sanitation? I suspect they would have started learning about something like that? Could she pass the needle through a flame or did they just get down to business and sew it up without that kind of thing?

Thanks so much for your help!

Cheers!

Stanmiller
05-05-2013, 12:39 AM
Wiki is your friend...

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_was_medical_care_like_in_the_1820's_compared_ to_now

1820s medical care
medicines were plant-based but were not tested
physicians ground plants themselves to make medicines
the same medicines were given to everyone, even if it didn't cure everyone
there was less understanding about "germs"
"cures" were often still based in folk-lore
physicians visited almost always in a patient's home
physicians traveled TO the patient, often 30-plus miles or more territory
hospitals were rare; people were sick at home and died at home
patients paid for care and medicines with giving milk, eggs, or even a cow; patients without money or goods to pay often had no care
frontier communities often had no doctors; people took care of each other
doctors treated the 'whole person'; there were no specialists except an eye doctor or medical doctor
"tests" were limited and were often just what a doctor could See, Hear, or Smell
blood testing was just beginning to be investigated and was not used
physicians and surgeons learned more about infection and surgery because of the wounds suffered in the Revolutionary War 1776 and the Civil War 1863-65
since doctors did not understand viruses, or how to stop viruses, there were no immunizations
most people who got the flu then got pneumonia, and died
thousands of children died every year, ages: infancy to 9 yrs old
the average life expectancy was UNDER 50 years of age
doctors were free to make their best decisions
patients prayed and hoped for a day when doctors could cure disease, prevent death or disability, and offer hope when hope was lost

jkenton
05-05-2013, 12:55 AM
Hi.

I'm new here, but I do need some help! I've run against a bit of a problem when it comes to eighteenth century medicine.

My story takes place in eighteenth century France during the French Revolution. To be more specific it takes place during the Reign of Terror.
My characters are trying to escape the city of Paris and a chase scene ensues. My male lead character gets shot in the side while escaping on a horse (it was a lucky shot).

I have said in the story that shot went though the fleshy part of his side and had broken a rib. I don't know if that would be accurate but for now that's what I have.

Another problem I have is sutures. My main female character is trying to tend to his wounds. They're in hiding and fugitives from the state so there's no way they can get to that sort of help. I'm wondering how they would have stitched some one up?

I know with modern stitches they have a little hooked needle but would a sewing needle have worked in an emergency?

What about sanitation? I suspect they would have started learning about something like that? Could she pass the needle through a flame or did they just get down to business and sew it up without that kind of thing?

Thanks so much for your help!

Cheers!

Just bend the sewing needle. Then it's curved.

She probably wouldn't know to sterilize it. Unless one of your characters is a century ahead of their time in medical knowledge, nobody really understood germ theory at the time. Some few physicians theorized that "disease entities" existed, but that was a far cry from knowing about germs.

Some folks would have some basic trial & error knowledge, like knowing that a wound contaminated with feces was more likely to get infected so it's not unreasonable for one of your characters to understand that a wound should be kept clean, and foreign bodies like bits of cloth from his shirt removed... They probably wouldn't have known why it worked. And for everyone of person who stumbled on a traditional treatment that worked, there'd be someone who believed that tying a cabbage leaf to your head or something would prevent infection.

In that era, avoiding or surviving infection was as much a matter of luck as it was medical knowledge.

King Neptune
05-05-2013, 01:00 AM
Hi.

I'm new here, but I do need some help! I've run against a bit of a problem when it comes to eighteenth century medicine.

My story takes place in eighteenth century France during the French Revolution. To be more specific it takes place during the Reign of Terror.
My characters are trying to escape the city of Paris and a chase scene ensues. My male lead character gets shot in the side while escaping on a horse (it was a lucky shot).

I have said in the story that shot went though the fleshy part of his side and had broken a rib. I don't know if that would be accurate but for now that's what I have.

Another problem I have is sutures. My main female character is trying to tend to his wounds. They're in hiding and fugitives from the state so there's no way they can get to that sort of help. I'm wondering how they would have stitched some one up?

I know with modern stitches they have a little hooked needle
but would a sewing needle have worked in an emergency?


The sutures are a minor problem. A sewing needle would have been used, if there any way to suture. I would think that the wound would be too wide for suturing. If it happened to me, I would want it reasonably open so that it would drain.


What about sanitation? I suspect they would have started learning about something like that? Could she pass the needle through a flame or did they just get down to business and sew it up without that kind of thing?

Thanks so much for your help!

Cheers!

Sanitation! Surely you jest. The zymotic theory (germ theory) of disease was not accepted widely until the mid 1800's, remember Lister and Pasteur. If there was dirt, then it might get rinsed away or maybe just brushed away. Some injuries were cauterized, but that was mostly large things like amputations.

jkenton
05-05-2013, 08:05 AM
Yeah... treatments intended to stop the bleeding could inadvertently sanitize the wound. Washing it so she could see to suture, for example. Cauterization was mainly to stop bleeding, but I can see that as having a side effect of killing some germs.

Big thing is making sure that his bowels weren't nicked. That was pretty much a death sentence barring astounding luck.