> I have read somewhere (don't ask me where, can't remember) that
despite all > the stories of Southern inefficiency with medicine, 1)
wound for wound, the > Confederate hospitals were better equipped
because they were stuffed to the > gills with COTTON (which, having
helped to start the war, finally made > itself useful for a change)
to use as gauze, and 2) Southern doctors and > orderlies were
generally better about sterilizing this gauze by heating it
> in ovens before application (although it is said that they weren't
aware of > what they were doing).
It's a nice theory, but heating cotton in an oven won't sterilize it
any more than washing it in warm water will. I'm surprised that
nobody has trotted out the old horse tail chestnut as well! :) Even
if any type of dressing or instrument were "sterilized" by
boiling/baking/washing, it still would be picked up by nonsterile
hands, placed back in a nonsterile field, and stored in a nonsterile
Another point that Dr. Bollet made is that even today we have killer
germs which no antibiotics or antisepsis can fight. The "flesh-
eating bacterium" (a virulent Strep-B which causes necrotizing
fasciitis) is a prime example.
Huzzah, let's keep up the thread, finally something that I can talk
with authority about!