Tuesday, October 5, 2010

18th Nat'l Conference on Civil War Medicine - Summary #4 - A Leg to Stand On

Readers of this blog and my "Medical Department" column in The Civil War News should be familiar with my dear friend, Guy R. Hasegawa, Pharm. D. He is the co-editor of (and contributor) our book, Years of Change and Suffering: Modern Perspectives on Civil War Medicine (Edinborough Press, 2009) and has been the subject of my column several times (here and here for examples!).

Guy gave the opening lecture at the National Conference on Civil War Medicine this past weekend, and his presentation - "Artificial Limbs in the Civil War Era" - had all the hallmarks of Guy's work: impeccable research, great illustrations, and a lively and engaging talk!

He discussed:

The artificial limb industry in the pre-war years

The need for prostheses due to farming accidents but especially increased industrialization - railroads, factories, and mines

The acceleration of artificial limb production and patents during the Civil War era

The materials used for artificial limbs, including wood (esp. willow), s
teel, brass, rawhide, hardened rubber, and others

Great period advertisements

Infighting amongst the various manufacturers, including the debate as to whether physicians or mechanics were most qualified to design artificial limbs

Major manufacturers in the Union and Confederacy

Displayed amazing photos of soldiers wearing limbs as well as photos of actual wartime artificial limbs from the National Museum of Health and Medicine

Guy's presentation was the "beau ideal" of the great original topics, research, and presentations you will see at the conference!


Richard said...

Great coverage of the conference Jim. I have seen some advertisements for artificial limbs in Harper's Weekly. I think one even offered "silver plating" for an additional few dollars.

Jim Schmidt said...

Thanks, Richard! The conference was a blast. It's my second NMCWM conference and I've also been to a couple of Society of Civil War Surgeons conferences. The people attached to the NMCWM are just so passionate about that place and it really shows in their dedication. They treat everyone like family. I'd say at least half the folks are regulars at the conference, so after your first one you already feel like part of that family. Can;t wait to go to another! Jim