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MOMENTS IN SURGICAL HISTORY

IRA M. RUTKOW, MD, MPH, DRPH
Arch Surg. 1997;132(7):795. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1997.01430310109028.
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ABSTRACT

Unlike the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, the 5-year Civil War (1861–1865) was a "cut and carve" drama. It was hundreds of amputated arms and legs lying outside makeshift field hospitals. The very size of the rebellion, with casualty counts not infrequently in the tens of thousands for a single day, dictated its surgical significance. Physicians, regardless of whether they considered themselves surgically trained or not, had no choice but to become familiar with the surgical principles of caring for the war wounded as well as developing an appreciation for surgical anesthesia. In the final analysis, the semantic liberty of titling all physicians in Civil War army service with the sobriquet of "surgeon" would greatly complicate future efforts to define and regulate the role of surgery within American medicine and overall society. Because performing surgical operations was a new experience for many of the tens of thousands

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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