Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Years of Change and Suffering - Details on Contributors and Topics - Part II

Picking up where I left on my last post, here are additional details of contributors and their topics to our forthcoming collection of invited expert essays, Years of Change and Suffering: Modern Perspectives on Civil War Medicine (Edinborough Press, Fall 2009).

Chapter Five - “The Privates Were Shot” - Urological Wounds and Treatment in the Civil War - This chapter is contributed by Harry Herr, M. D. Dr. Herr is a urologic surgeon at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Professor at Cornell Medical College, and has published numerous articles on medical care during the Civil War. Up to the time of the Civil War, pelvic wounds were considered to be mortal and in earlier wars, many men suffering pelvic injuries were left to die without receiving any surgical care. Despite the dismal prevailing attitude toward pelvic injuries at the start of the Civil War, surgeons learned how to treat destructive injuries of the kidneys, bladder, urethra and genitalia, and each year of the war saw improved survival and better recovery. Although urological injuries were less frequent than the number of amputations of shattered limbs commonly associated with Civil War medicine, they were no less significant. Veterans learned to function and even thrive after the loss of an arm or a leg, but imagine a young man facing life soiled in urine and in constant pain, lame from destroyed pelvic bones and nerves, and sexually impotent or mentally scared by disfigured genitals. More men survived their pelvic wounds, but sometimes at a terrible cost, leaving many to suffer dire and permanent consequences of their injuries. I interviewed Dr. Herr about his interesting work for a Civil War News "Medical Department" column a few years back and will post that interview here on the blog soon.

Chapter Six - "Southern Resources, Southern Medicines" - This chapter is contributed by Guy R. Hasegawa, Pharm.D. Dr. Hasegawa is a Senior Editor of the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, a published expert on Confederate pharmacy and other aspects of Civil War medicine, and a board member of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and the Society of Civil War Surgeons. He is also co-editor of Years of Change and Suffering. Dr. Hasegawa should beno stranger to readers of this blog or my "Medical Department" column in The Civil War News, as he has been an interview subject several times, regarding his work on Civil War pharmacy, quinine substitutes in the Confederacy, and other interesting topics. In his chapter, he describes "how the Confederate army marshaled a wide array of resources, natural and otherwise, to furnish its physicians with the medicines needed to treat the vast numbers of sick and wounded soldiers." Dr. Hasegawa has an amazing penchant for finding and drawing on previously unpublished primary source material, and he carries that talent in to this chapter.

Chapter Seven - "The Cradle of American Neurology - Silas Weir Mitchell’s Contributions During the American Civil War" - This chapter is contributed by D. J. Canale, M.D. D
r. Canale has had a distinguished career as a surgeon, including three years in the United States Air Force as a Flight Surgeon; in the past few years, he has contributed more than a dozen articles on the history of medicine, with a special regard for neurology. In the chapter, he describes the important contributions of S. Weir Mitchell - and his co-workers George R. Morehouse and W.W. Keen – and how they took advantage of an excellent and unique opportunity for the study of diseases and injuries of the nervous system during the Civil War. I interviewed Dr. Canale from my Civil War News "Medical Department" column several years ago regarding his interesting research and writing on the "phantom limb" phenomenon. You can read that interview here.

Chapter Eight - “Haunted Minds - The Impact of Combat Exposure on the Mental and Physical Health of Civil War Veterans" - This chapter is contributed by Judith E. Andersen, Ph.D.
Dr. Andersen is an experimental psychologist with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs in New York; her groundbreaking and in-depth analysis of the mental and physical health of Civil War veterans, published in 2006 in the Archives of General Psychiatry, received widespread media attention. In the chapter, she reviews the mental health diagnoses observed and recorded during the Civil War. While anecdotal clues have suggested a link between war exposure and health, Dr. Andersen goes well above that with a systematic review of military and medical records of veterans from the Civil War to show the impact of war trauma on both the mental and physical health over the life-span. I interviewed Dr. Andersen several years ago for a "Medical Department" column about her interesting work. You can read that interview here.

As you can see, in the book we cover topics from secession to veterans affairs, with a good mix of topics regarding issues that faced the North or the South or both. Add in a Foreword by Dr. Thomas P. Lowry (The Story the Soldiers Wouldn't Tell) and the fact that
all royalties from the book are being donated to the cause of Civil War heritage preservation, and I hope you'll agree it's a winning combination.

Stay tuned for additional details!

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