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Die Gefäßchirurgie im Ersten Weltkrieg

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Sabine Eckhardt

Bereits Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts hatte man sich mit allen heute gängigen Methoden der Gefäßchirurgie auseinandergesetzt und in diesem Bereich der Chirurgie binnen weniger Jahre wichtige Erkenntnisse gewonnen. Gemäß der oftmals aufgestellten These, ein Krieg bringe für die Medizin, speziell die Chirurgie, Fortschritte, bot sich den Medizinern mit Beginn des Ersten Weltkrieges die Gelegenheit, dieses Wissen zu festigen und zu erweitern. Zeitgenössische Berichte damals tätiger Kriegschirurgen stellen jedoch deutlich die widrigen Bedingungen an der Front dar, die es nahezu unmöglich machten, die bisherigen Erkenntnisse erfolgreich umzusetzen, geschweige denn Fortschritte in diesem komplexen Bereich der Chirurgie zu erzielen.
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“The war was an unprecedented triumph of science. Bacon had promised that power would mean knowledge. And it was power in fact, the power to destroy the human soul and body faster than it had ever happened before. This victory paved the way for other triumphs: Progress in transportation and health care, surgery, medicine and psychiatry, in commerce and industry and especially in the preparations for the next war.”9

This quote characterizes the significance of the First World War for the society at the beginning of the 20th Century very well. Progress could be observed in numerous areas of the industry and science, so that this was the first war during which the majority of the dead people did not originate from military hospital terms or infections. This work reveals that vascular surgery showed differences in this development.

The surgeons at the fronts of the First World War felt confronted with various not predictable complications. On the one hand the new artillery munitions generated irregular and little clear wounds which often walked along with skin combustion and infections. Accordingly one could not judge the internal destructions only on account of the external appearance of an injury and depended on continuing diagnostics to cure the patient sufficiently. Nevertheless, the diagnostic was difficult, because there was not enough time for a detailed anamnesis and equipment for example in the form of X-ray motor vehicles.

In addition, the current care of the wounded, which was important...

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