Tuesday, August 31, 2010

KILLED BY THE CURE: CIVIL WAR MEDICINE, PT. VII

XX. Diseases Most Commonly Contracted by Civil War Soldiers

Six million cases of disease were reported to or discovered by Union medical officers during the Civil War. These 15 diseases account for 3,966,828 (66%) of those cases:

Listings provide Disease; Number of Cases; Number of Deaths; and Death Rate.

1. Diarrhea or dysentery---1,585,196---37,794---(2.38 %)
2. Malaria---1,213,685---12,199---(1.01 %)
3. Pneumonia/diseases of respiratory tract---448,923---17,902---(3.99 %)
4. Catarrh/Bronchitis---281,294---1,185---(0.42 %)
5. Gonorrhea---95,833---6---(0.01 %)
6. Typhoid fever---75,368---27,056---(35.90 %)
7. Syphilis---73,382---123---(0.17 %)
8. Measles---67,763---4,246---(6.27 %)
9. Mumps---48,128---72---(0.15 %)
10. Scurvy---30,714---383---(1.25 %)
11. Tuberculosis---13,499---5,286---(39.16 %)
12. Smallpox---12,236---4,717---(38.55 %)
13. Chronic Alcoholism/Delirium tremens---10,253---605---(5.90 %)
14. Diptheria---8,053---777---(9.65 %)
15. Typhus---2,501---850---(33.99 %)

XXI. Anesthesia

Two main forms of anesthesia were used during the Civil War: chloroform and ether. In the 8,900 surgeries reported to the Union Surgeon General in which type of anesthesia was specified, chloroform was used in 76% of cases, ether in 15% of cases, and some combination of chloroform and ether in 9% of cases. Of the 6,784 cases using chloroform that were reported, death attributable to the anesthetic was involved in 37 cases, or 0.5%. 254 surgeries were reported in which no anesthetic was used (3%).

Tom Pearson, Reference Librarian
Special Collections Department
St. Louis Public Library
1301 Olive Street
St. Louis, MO 63103

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment