The Use of the Roentgen Ray by the Medical Department of the United States Army in the War with Spain (1898)
OFFICE OF THE SURGEON GENERAL (ARMY) WASHINGTON DC
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Soon after the discovery by Professor Roentgen of the new form of radiation and the placing on the market of apparatus for its production, the Surgeon-General of the Army supplied Roentgen-ray apparatus to several of the larger post hospitals. On the outbreak of the war with Spain and the establishment of general hospitals the most prominent and important of these hospitals and the three hospital ships Relief, Missouri, and Bay State were supplied with similar appliances In all, seventeen apparatus were available during the war, of which five were static and twelve were coil machines. These apparatus proved to be not only invaluable aids in military surgery, but the use of the two types, coil and static, gave an opportunity for comparison of these two methods for producing the Rontgen ray as adapted to the needs and environments of military hospitals The use of the Roentgen ray has marked a distinct advance in military surgery. It has favored conservatism and promoted the aseptic healing of bullet wounds made by lodged missiles, in that it has done away with the necessity for the exploration of wounds by probes or other means, and by this has obviated the dangers of infection and additional traumatism in this class of injuries. In gunshot fractures it has been of great scientific value by showing the character of the bone lesions, the form of fracture, and the amount of bone comminution produced by the small-caliber and other bullets-conditions which could not have been otherwise determined in the living body. In the treatment of these traumatisms it has been of great value in determining the course of treatment to be pursued, as its use, together with the course of the cases under treatment, has shown that aseptic or septic condition of the wound is of far greater importance than the amount of bone comminution.
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