Original U.S. WWII USMC Navy Corpsman Field Surgical Kit Roll
Original Item: Only One Available. On any World War II battlefield, there would be found thousands of men trained and ready to do one thing: take the life of the enemy. But there would also be a few trained and ready to do an entirely different mission: save lives. These were the battlefield medics. Armed with gauze and stainless steel instruments, these unarmed soldiers and sailors braved the bullets and shrapnel to render life saving aid to the wounded and dying on the battlefield.
This kit is faintly marked on the front with:
FORCEPS, PINS, SCISSORS
Unfortunately the safety pins were used long ago and are no longer in the kit, however, the kit does contain various stainless steel instruments.
The Following Tools Are In The Kit:
- (5) Sets of Tissue/Artery Forceps: These are the “tweezers” in the kit. They were used for holding tissue or an artery while tying it off to stop bleeding.
Scalpel: The scalpel is fixed blade and would have to be manually sharpened. These were used for tissue incisions and precise cutting when needed.
- (3) Sets of Surgical Scissors: Standard scissors are available in a variety of lengths and patterns with straight, curved or angled blades. Heavy duty patterns are for blunt dissection. Fine, thin blades are used for delicate cutting. There is a pair of “trauma” shears which have a rounded “spoon” at the bottom which would have been used to cut articles of clothing without injuring the individual being worked on.
- Ratcheting Hemostat: Ring forceps (also called hemostatic forceps) are hinged and look like ring scissors. Frequently, hemostatic forceps have a locking mechanism called a ratchet, which is used for clamping. The jaws of the locking forceps gradually come together as each increment of the ratchet is employed.
Ring forceps are used for grasping, holding firmly or exerting traction upon objects.
For especially delicate operations, generally ring handles with a locking ratchet are
preferred over thumb forceps. Locking hemostatic forceps may be called clamps and are used to securely hold tissue. When they are used to control blood flow, they are called hemostats. Hemostats are typically used to compress blood vessels or other tubular structures to obstruct the flow of blood or fluids.
- Spring Lancet “Bleeder”: This would have been used for bloodletting or draining fluid buildups.
- (2) Retractors: A retractor is a surgical instrument used to separate and manipulate the edges of a surgical incision or wound, or to hold back underlying organs and tissues so that body parts underneath may be accessed.
The kit itself is in lovely condition and appears without damage, but there is definite fading and color loss to the case and overall signs of solid use. Most of the instruments all have makers marks on them and all seem to be of German origin.
Comes more than ready to display!
Battlefield medicine, also called field surgery and later combat casualty care, is the treatment of wounded combatants and non-combatants in or near an area of combat. Civilian medicine has been greatly advanced by procedures that were first developed to treat the wounds inflicted during combat. With the advent of advanced procedures and medical technology, even polytrauma can be survivable in modern wars. Battlefield medicine is a category of military medicine.
Chronology of Battlefield Medical Advances
- During Alexander the Great’s military campaigns in the fourth century BC, tourniquets were used to stanch the bleeding of wounded soldiers. Romans used them to control bleeding, especially during amputations. These tourniquets were narrow straps made of bronze, using only leather for comfort.
- An early stretcher, likely made of wicker over a frame, appears in a manuscript from c.1380. Simple stretchers were common with militaries right through the middle of the 20th century.
- During the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403, Prince Henry had an arrow removed from his face using a specially designed surgical instrument.
- Ambulances or dedicated vehicles for the purpose of carrying injured persons. These were first used by Spanish soldiers during the Siege of Málaga (1487).
French military surgeon Ambroise Paré (1510–90) pioneered modern battlefield wound treatment. His two main contributions to battlefield medicine are the use of dressing to treat wounds and the use of ligature to stop bleeding during amputation.
- The practice of triage pioneered by Dominique Jean Larrey during the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815). He also pioneered the use of ambulances in the midst of combat ('ambulances volantes', or flying ambulances). Prior to this, military ambulances had waited for combat to cease before collecting the wounded by which time many casualties would have succumbed to their injuries.
- Russian surgeon Nikolay Ivanovich Pirogov was one of the first surgeons to use ether as an anesthetic in 1847, as well as the very first surgeon to use anesthesia in a field operation during the Crimean War.
- American Civil War surgeon Jonathan Letterman (1824–72) originated modern methods of medical organization within armies.
- The Relief Society for Wounded Soldiers, forerunner of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was founded in 1863 in Geneva. The ICRC advocated for the establishment of national aid societies for battlefield medical relief, and stood behind the First Geneva Convention of 1864 which provided neutrality for medics, ambulances, and hospitals.
- In the late 19th century, the influence of notable medical practitioners like Friedrich von Esmarch and members of the Venerable Order of Saint John pushing for every adult man and woman to be taught the basics of first aid eventually led to institutionalized first-aid courses amongst the military and standard first-aid kits for every soldier.
Advances in surgery - especially amputation, during the Napoleonic Wars and First World War on the battlefield of the Somme.
- Medical advances also provided kinder methods for treatment of battlefield injuries, such as antiseptic ointments, which replaced boiling oil for cauterizing amputations.
During the Spanish Civil War there were two major advances. The first one was the invention of a practical method for transporting blood. Developed in Barcelona by Duran i Jordà, the technique mixed the blood of the donors with the same blood type and then, using Grífols glass tubes and a refrigerator truck, transported the blood to the frontline. A few weeks later Norman Bethune developed a similar service. The second advance was the invention of the mobile operating room by the Catalan Moisès Broggi, who worked for the International Brigades.
- The establishment of fully equipped and mobile field hospitals such as the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital was first practiced by the United States in World War II. It was succeeded in 2006 by the Combat Support Hospital.
- The use of helicopters as ambulances, or MEDEVACs was first practiced in Burma in 1944. The first MEDEVAC under fire was done in Manila in 1945 where over 70 troops were extracted in five helicopters, one and two at a time.
The extension of emergency medicine to pre-hospital settings through the use of emergency medical technicians.
- The use of Remote physiological monitoring devices on soldiers to show vital signs and biomechanical data to the medic and MEDEVAC crew before and during trauma. This allows medicine and treatment to be administered as soon as possible in the field and during extraction. Similar telemetry units are used in crewed spaceflight, where a flight surgeon at the Command Center can monitor vital signs. This can help to see issues before larger problems occur, such as elevated carbon dioxide levels, or a rise in body temperature indicating a possible infection.
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