Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: naval surgery

  • The grim horrors of the orlop deck

    Richard de GrijsSydney, Australia The often awe-inspiring works of art immortalizing historic naval battles usually belie the harsh reality of war. Amidst clouds of billowing, black smoke and the deafening roar of cannon fire, sailors faced the real danger of life-threatening injuries. Injured sailors were carried, dragged, or stretchered to the surgeon’s “cockpit,” a dimly…

  • Sea sick: Naval surgery and sanitation in eighteenth-century Britain

    Melissa Yeo Ontario, Canada   Instruments in a Surgeon’s Chest (click to enlarge). From The surgeons mate or military and domestique surgery, John Woodall, 1639. Wellcome Collection. Public domain. Scurvy, yellow fever, and typhus were considered “the three Great Killers of seamen.”1 Hygiene and diet were very poor aboard eighteenth-century sailing vessels, as ships were often…