Medical aspects of the battle of Waterloo


By Michael Crumplin, published 7th July 2015

Exploring the British Army medical facilities

Michael Crumplin explores the medical facilities of the British Army and asks how likely soldiers wounded at Waterloo were to survive.

The road to Waterloo

One of the very few benefits of conflict is the advancement of medical practice. The recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
have been dealing with relatively low volumes of casualties and there has been a high senior doctor to patient ratio. This has enabled maximum benefit to both service and civilian casualties. Such results enabled most of those surviving the trip to a level III, base hospital (at Camp Bastion) an above 90% chance of safe evacuation to the UK. These results would be difficult to improve on and are probably impossible to emulate in civilian medical practice. Military medicine with its role in managing contagion, varied types of battle injury and the need to manage casualties in a particular way, differs somewhat from most civilian practice...


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