12 Amazing Facts About Military Medicine

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Fact 1

Thanks to the work of field surgeons during the war, 70% of the wounded and 90% of the sick soldiers returned to duty, which is 17 million people.

Fact 2

40% of deaths among the wounded were due to delayed medical attention. The recommended time for the delivery of the wounded to the field hospital was eight hours, but it was far from always possible to take the soldiers out of the battlefield in time. So, during the Battle of Kursk, every sixth arrived at the medical center more than 12 hours after being wounded.

Fact 3

During the Great Patriotic War, dog teams were used to carry the wounded from the battlefield.

Fact 4

Most of the medicines stored in case of war were located in the west of the country and were destroyed by the advancing German army in the very first days of the war. It was not possible to quickly restore production, because many factories that produced medicines were also located in the west of the country and were destroyed. As a result, there was a shortage of medicines and dressings.

Fact 5

To prevent infection, a bandage soaked in a salt solution was applied to the wounds. Salt absorbs water and dries out the wound, reducing the risk of infection. The tool is not the most reliable, but there were not enough dressing materials, and the restoration of production was not easy and went very slowly.

Fact 6

In case of suppuration, the wound was treated with molten paraffin. First, he played the role of a patch. And secondly, it was assumed that hot paraffin would dilate blood vessels and stimulate blood flow to the wound, which would speed up its healing.

Fact 7

The fungus, on the basis of which the first domestic penicillin was created, was taken from the wall of one of the Moscow bomb shelters. The Soviet microbiologist Zinaida Vissarionovna Ermolyeva found it and isolated the antibiotic.

Fact 8

Another antibiotic developed in the USSR, gramicidin, was isolated by Soviet scientists G.F. Gause and M.G. Brazhnikova from bacteria found in the soil in vegetable gardens near Moscow. It was isolated in 1942, but a drug based on it was created only two years later thanks to the work of a scientific group from Britain. Margaret Thatcher, the future prime minister of Great Britain, worked in this group.

Fact 9

According to the results of the Great Patriotic War, 38 nurses were awarded the Florence Nightingale medal. This award was established by the International Committee of the Red Cross. It is awarded to health workers who have shown dedication and courage in caring for the wounded or sick.

Fact 10

Only in the first year of the war on the Leningrad front, two thousand orderlies were killed or went missing, and two and a half thousand were injured. To encourage the hard and dangerous work of orderlies, the People’s Commissariat of Defense of the USSR issued a decree “On the procedure for submitting military orderlies and porters to the government award for good combat work.” Interestingly, the awards given to orderlies had a strictly set “price”.

  • For the removal of 15 wounded with equipment from the battlefield, the orderly received a medal for military merit.
  • For 25 wounded – the Order of the Red Star
  • For 40 soldiers – the Order of the Red Banner
  • For saving 80 wounded – the Order of Lenin.

Fact 11

By the end of the war, 116 thousand military doctors and orderlies were awarded orders and medals. The title of Hero of the Soviet Union was given to 44 doctors.

Fact 12

During the Great Patriotic War, not a single epidemic occurred in the Soviet rear. During the war, constant door-to-door sanitary rounds were carried out. Constant sanitary supervision of shops, dormitories and canteens was carried out. Physicians constantly controlled the railroads. In 1943 alone, more than 120,000 trains were inspected. Vaccinations were carried out against infectious diseases: in 1941, 15 million people were vaccinated against typhoid fever, in 1942 – 19 million, and in 1944 – 20 million.

Photo: Globallook, Eastnews, Shutterstock

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