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War Surgery and Medicine

First World War

First World War

At the commencement of the 1914–18 War provision was first made only for chloroform, in ampoule form, in the field units; but the other anaesthetics used in civil practice were soon available, and ether became the anaesthetic of choice, either alone or in conjunction with chloroform. Shipway's apparatus was popular and diminished the number of chest complications. Gas and oxygen became very much used for seriously shocked cases, but its administration was difficult. Spinal anaesthesia proved to be dangerous when administered to shocked cases, and in consequence was not utilised to any extent. Intratracheal anaesthesia was well established and was utilised in special cases. Local anaesthesia was utilised extensively in head injuries and very occasionally for other injuries. Pre-medication of morphia and atropine was a routine.