Author Topic: American: Health, Hygiene, Medicine, and Surgery  (Read 9829 times)

AvastMH

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6984
    • View Profile
Re: American: Health, Hygiene, Medicine, and Surgery
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2015, 04:00:49 pm »
You know it takes me about 20 minutes by car to get to my local hospital, one of the very best in the South of England. This story makes me realise just how lucky I am. It was super sad to read that the journey did not end in a successful treatment :(

Janet Jaguar

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9658
  • Smell the sea, feel the sky, & fly into the mystic
    • View Profile
Re: American: Health, Hygiene, Medicine, and Surgery
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2015, 06:42:14 pm »
Rest in Peace, sir, your whole community loved you.

Randi

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11990
    • View Profile
Re: American: Health, Hygiene, Medicine, and Surgery
« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2015, 06:09:34 pm »
Here is another one that is a bit off the subject, but this article reminded me of our RN logs for WWI...

Did Civil War Soldiers Have PTSD?
One hundred and fifty years later, historians are discovering some of the earliest known cases of post-traumatic stress disorder

Smithsonian Magazine - January 2015
In the summer of 1862, John Hildt lost a limb. Then he lost his mind. The 25-year-old corporal from Michigan saw combat for the first time at the Seven Days Battle in Virginia, where he was shot in the right arm. Doctors amputated his shattered limb close to the shoulder, causing a severe hemorrhage. Hildt survived his physical wound but was transferred to the Government Hospital for the Insane in Washington D.C., suffering from ?acute mania.?

Hildt, a laborer who?d risen quickly in the ranks, had no prior history of mental illness, and his siblings wrote to the asylum expressing surprise that ?his mind could not be restored to its original state.? But months and then years passed, without improvement. Hildt remained withdrawn, apathetic, and at times so ?excited and disturbed? that he hit other patients at the asylum. He finally died there in 1911?casualty of a war he?d volunteered to fight a half-century before.

The Civil War killed and injured over a million Americans, roughly a third of all those who served. This grim tally, however, doesn?t include the conflict?s psychic wounds. Military and medical officials in the 1860s had little grasp of how war can scar minds as well as bodies. Mental ills were also a source of shame, especially for soldiers bred on Victorian notions of manliness and courage. For the most part, the stories of veterans like Hildt have languished in archives and asylum files for over a century, neglected by both historians and descendants.

This veil is now lifting, in dramatic fashion, amid growing awareness of conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder. A year ago, the National Museum of Civil War Medicine mounted its first exhibit on mental health, including displays on PTSD and suicide in the 1860s. Historians and clinicians are sifting through diaries, letters, hospital and pension files and putting Billy Yank and Johnny Reb on the couch as never before. Genealogists have joined in, rediscovering forgotten ancestors and visiting their graves in asylum cemeteries.

...
[there is quite a bit more]
« Last Edit: August 29, 2015, 07:56:54 pm by Randi »

Randi

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11990
    • View Profile
Re: American: Health, Hygiene, Medicine, and Surgery
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2016, 05:53:50 pm »
http://whaling-data.oldweather.org/subjects/logbookofbelugast00unse_0087.jpg

...
This happened in 1897, and while the doctor-barber thing was still commonplace, this was essentially the golden age for anesthetics. Cocaine had been in use as a local anesthetic for a little over a decade, and morphine had been around (and more importantly, hadn't been made a strictly regulated drug at that point) for nearly a century. Additionally Laudanum would have been widely available, cheap, and wouldn't be *tightly* regulated until 1970.

I'll admit, I had to read that several times before it really sank in, and was even more surprised to find that it was available *over the counter* until the early 1950's.

All of that aside, this was a whaling vessel, rather than Navy, so it's altogether possible (and incredibly probable) that Captain Tilton just got the guy good and drunk before lopping his finger off.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2016, 06:02:41 pm by Randi »

jd570b

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 144
    • View Profile
Re: American: Health, Hygiene, Medicine, and Surgery
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2016, 12:42:59 am »
Pertaining to hygiene:
Jamestown (1886)
06/08/1887 - http://oldweather.s3.amazonaws.com/ow3/final/USS%20Jamestown/vol058of067/vol058of067_150_1.jpg
Quote
Recd in Pay Department 15 Boxes of Soap

On the following watch:
Quote
Piped down aired bedding.

The following day:
07/08/1887 - http://oldweather.s3.amazonaws.com/ow3/final/USS%20Jamestown/vol058of067/vol058of067_151_1.jpg
The weather was described as "Sultry" and the following entry made:
Quote
"Saratoga" signalled get up sea clothes lines, and scrub and wash clothes.

Randi

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11990
    • View Profile
Re: American: Health, Hygiene, Medicine, and Surgery
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2016, 07:53:42 am »
 8)

First mention I have seen of "sea clothes lines", but I suppose that explains this:

HatterJack

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 362
  • "Wind is to us what money is to life on shore."
    • View Profile
Re: American: Health, Hygiene, Medicine, and Surgery
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2016, 08:51:08 am »
Well, when you need to wash your skivvies, you *really* need to get them dry. That's a better place to hang them than in the rat lines.

Randi

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11990
    • View Profile
Re: American: Health, Hygiene, Medicine, and Surgery
« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2016, 08:03:20 pm »
Quote from: http://bluejacket.com/naval_terms_tradition.htm (this is an RN site, but many entries also apply to the US ships - not sure about this one!)
Clothes stop.  A small diameter cord about 12 inches long with metal ends to keep the cord from fraying. This short cord was used to tie laundry to a clothes line or other convenient object for drying. Also used in a sea bag inspection to secure rolled clothing. Every recruit was issued a length of clothes stops in boot camp instead of clothes pins. They ceased to be issued in 1973.

AvastMH

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6984
    • View Profile
Re: American: Health, Hygiene, Medicine, and Surgery
« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2016, 08:05:04 pm »
8)

First mention I have seen of "sea clothes lines", but I suppose that explains this:


That's the Thetis....love that clothes line... :-* :-* :-*

Hurlock

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 549
    • View Profile
Re: American: Health, Hygiene, Medicine, and Surgery
« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2016, 07:47:24 am »
Albatross 2nd July 1905 Mare Island
http://oldweather.s3.amazonaws.com/ow3/final/Albatross/vol041of055/vol041of055_0009_1.jpg

Shortly after 12:00 mer. B.Reilly, F.1c., was burned on right hand by steam from bursting water gauge in steam launch; dressed with picric acid.

HatterJack

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 362
  • "Wind is to us what money is to life on shore."
    • View Profile
Re: American: Health, Hygiene, Medicine, and Surgery
« Reply #25 on: February 17, 2016, 01:18:45 pm »
So... chemistry is another feather in my cap, especially as it relates to anything that can make a rather loud and visually impressive boom. Picric acid is a heavily nitrated acid (synthesized with a phenol base, although it's a bit more complex than that sounds), which in laymen's terms means it has a rather interesting tendency to explode rather violently.

In the late 19th century, it was heavily used in artillery ordnance as one of the primary high-yield explosive elements used in shells. However, it was later discovered to be incredibly unstable (especially when used in artillery shells, as it reacts rather... poorly with metals) but remained in widespread military usage until it was replaced by TNT in the period between the World Wars.

Somewhere around the turn of the 20th century (dates aren't very clear on exactly when) it began to be used as an antiseptic, treating everything from burns to smallpox and even trench foot. It became a rather famous chemical when it was used in the treatment of burns suffered by the victims of the infamous 1937 Hindenburg disaster. Surprisingly, it works incredibly well as a burn treatment, although it does stain the skin brown for as long as a month.

It was determined somewhere before the start of WWII that picric acid was *incredibly* toxic, and while it was a miracle treatment for superficial burn damage, it was likely doing more harm than good in the long run. While it's no longer seeing use as a medical treatment option, it still sees widespread use in medical research, drug testing, and fireworks (for the high pitched screech it makes during combustion; that same "Whistling Pete" screech you hear when playing around with fireworks is actually the reason why you hear that whistling bomb-drop sound in movies).

Bob

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1300
    • View Profile
Re: American: Health, Hygiene, Medicine, and Surgery
« Reply #26 on: February 17, 2016, 01:44:15 pm »
So... chemistry is another feather in my cap, especially as it relates to anything that can make a rather loud and visually impressive boom.

Then you would enjoy reading Ignition!, by John D. Clark, if you haven't already.  8)

It's freely available in PDF form.

HatterJack

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 362
  • "Wind is to us what money is to life on shore."
    • View Profile
Re: American: Health, Hygiene, Medicine, and Surgery
« Reply #27 on: February 17, 2016, 02:15:36 pm »
Downloading to my phone as I type this, always up for a good read about things that go 'splodey. :D

leelaht

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1801
    • View Profile
Re: American: Health, Hygiene, Medicine, and Surgery
« Reply #28 on: February 18, 2016, 03:03:14 am »
From Thetis Sept 16, 1893, Mare Island Cal.
[sometimes hard to decipher writing...]

stores received in Medical Dept
Acidum borainum powdered 200 gram bottles gm 200
Acidum gallicum 25 gram bottles 25
Glycerina 200-cc bottles 600
Hydrarg Chlor cowos 100 gram bottles gm 100
Hydrarg Chlor mit 50 gram bottles gm 50
Lanolin gm 500
Pepsina saccharat 50 gram bottles
Potas arsenit liq 100 cc bottles cc 100
Quininia sulph 0.2 gram ful no 600
Quininia sulph 0.1 gram ful no 600
Acid Oralicum gm 100
Ext of beef 120-cc bottles 10
Scissors no 1
Tumeric paper lot 1
Spoons table no 3
Spoons tea no 2
Tub, foot no 1
Envelopes, official no 25
Envelopes, small no 25
Paper, official half sheets per 5
Paper, ruled, note per 5
Pens, steel box 1

HatterJack

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 362
  • "Wind is to us what money is to life on shore."
    • View Profile
Re: American: Health, Hygiene, Medicine, and Surgery
« Reply #29 on: February 18, 2016, 06:59:34 am »
From Thetis Sept 16, 1893, Mare Island Cal.
[sometimes hard to decipher writing...]

stores received in Medical Dept
Acidum borainum powdered 200 gram bottles gm 200
Acidum gallicum 25 gram bottles 25
Glycerina 200-cc bottles 600
Hydrarg Chlor cowos 100 gram bottles gm 100
Hydrarg Chlor mit 50 gram bottles gm 50
Lanolin gm 500
Pepsina saccharat 50 gram bottles
Potas arsenit liq 100 cc bottles cc 100
Quininia sulph 0.2 gram ful no 600
Quininia sulph 0.1 gram ful no 600
Acid Oralicum gm 100
Ext of beef 120-cc bottles 10
Scissors no 1
Tumeric paper lot 1
Spoons table no 3
Spoons tea no 2
Tub, foot no 1
Envelopes, official no 25
Envelopes, small no 25
Paper, official half sheets per 5
Paper, ruled, note per 5
Pens, steel box 1

DECIPHERIN' TIME!

Acidum Borainum -  isn't something I'm familiar with, but I wonder if it might not have been Acidum Boracicum, which is boric acid. It would have been brought on board as an antiseptic and/or a treatment for athletes foot. It's still widely used in medicine to this day.

Acidum gallicum - more commonly known as gallic acid. used for writing confidential correspondence (invisible ink) and as an ink remover.

Glycerina - Glycerine. This stuff is used for oh so very much cool stuff, from food to medicine to antifreeze. In the case of coming in 200 cc bottles to the medical department, it was probably a base for medicinal tinctures/syrups.

Hydrarg Chlor - First entry is probably Hydrargyrum Chloride. Corros., which would have been old medical shorthand for Corrosive Sublimate of Mercury Chloride. This... is a syphilis treatment that fell out of favor in the mid 1930's when people realized that mercury is incredibly toxic. It's still in use today, but it's used in the manufacture of PVC plastics rather than medicine. Historically, it was also used as an antiseptic, but it would have fallen largely to the wayside by the 1893 outside of the Arab world.

Hydrarg Chlor - Second entry is almost certainly Hydrargyri Chloride Mite, or Mild Mercurous Chloride. Like the corrosive sublimate, it's *incredibly* toxic, but during the late 19th century, it would have been used in medicine as a diuretic and laxative. This particular compound is now extensively used in electro and photochemistry.

Lanolin - This is actually what got me into chemistry when I was younger, because I always saw it proudly advertised on shampoo bottles, and wanted to know what the heck it was. It turns out to be rather less than spectacular, as it's literally the natural grease secreted by sheep into their wool. For a long time it was thought to actually be a fat oil, but it's chemical composition isn't that of a true fat. It's actually a surprisingly singular substance with more cosmetic uses than I can count. However, a half kilo being in a medical department of a navy vessel leads me to believe that this was most likely used to soothe sunburns and other skin damage associated with being at sea for long periods of time.

Pepsina saccharat - This is, in fact, what you probably think it is. Or rather, the precursor to what typically pops into my head when the word Pepsin rears its head in 19th century texts. This stuff is Wine of Pepsin (probably Lieb's Wine of Pepsin, given its popularity) which was basically uncarbonated Pepsi. It would have been used to treat indigestion. If you're a fan of the drink, you really don't want to know how it gets its signature chemical ingredient. It's pretty disgusting, and turned me off drinking Pepsi products for the better part of a decade.

Potas arsenit liq - also known as liquor of potassium arsenite, which is a fancy way of saying it's a thick, distilled liquid made by combining potassium hydroxide and arsenic. It was used to treat a ton of medical issues, from rheumatism to syphilis to leukemia. It was surprisingly effective in treating indigestion and had some commercial success as a hair tonic (it made horse coats glossy and thick, but didn't really work on humans). However, it turns out that it's carcinogenic, and can be a rather painful way to die in the case of accidental overdose (arsenic poisoning isn't a good way to go). It's still widely used today, but only as a way to kill pests of a furry, chitinous, or leafy variety.

Quininia Sulp. - more commonly known today as Quinine Sulfate. This is, to this day, *the* go to treatment for malaria, and is considered one of the single most important medical discoveries in human history (discovered all the way back in 1632, although it wasn't extracted as a unique chemical until almost 200 years later!). In addition to malaria, it's also used to treat lupus and arthritis, and until recently was used as a treatment for restless leg syndrome. That last bit changed when the FDA issued a warning essentially stating that taking it for restless leg syndrome could be fatal. Fun fact about quinine: it's the reason why tonic water tastes the way it does, and glows a bright blue under ultraviolet light. Fun fact number 2: it's an ingredient in my ancestral homeland's national beverage; IRN-BRU.

Acid of Oralicum: This took me a while to figure out. I think it's referring to Oxalic acid (unless the crew of the Thetis discovered penicillin decades before Fleming). I have absolutely *no* idea why they would have brought it aboard, as the only medical purpose I can fathom for it prior to 1960 is intentionally causing someone's kidneys to fail. Were they perhaps trying to develop a chemical weapon? Or did they figure out the secret to mineral supplement pills 70-ish years early?

Ext of beef - almost certainly beef broth. Kind of a weird way to label it though.

The rest of the stuff on the list is pretty self-explanatory I think.