Wound Dressings

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I'm not sure if there was any cases of wounds needed dressing when the Carpathia picked up Titanic survivors. However, I was wondering what type of material would have been hypothetically used to dress them. Would it have been merely cloth, or did they have something more by that time? Again, any information will be appreciated.
 
Cloth as far as I know. Plaster casts for broken bones and the like. Not all that sophisticated but they did the job and still do. Some things don't need a lot of improvement. Perhaps somebody with a better knowladge of medical technology can help out with this.
 
The medical kit carried aboard merchant ships was specified by the Board of Trade and would certainly have included wound dressings. At that time, typically these would have been cotton gauze pads (probably impregnated with antiseptic), in at least two sizes and attached to long bandages for holding them in place. 'Sticking plasters' like Band-Aid, Elastoplast etc and equivalent larger wound dressings didn't come along until the 1920s and '30s.
 
Bob, you can't believe how thankful I am toward you right now. I have been searching and searching for information on this topic for quite a while now. I am aiming for one part of my book to be non-anachronistic, and with the information you provided, that will now be the case. I could also look in some really old journals in my library, but you gave me the idea. Thank you very much.

Thanks to you as well Michael. I can depict different situations now, rather than just one. I am looking forward to the finishing of my novel, if it ever gets done.
 
Would the surgeons on board either the Titanic or Carpathia have been able to stitch wounds? Say someone got in a rather grisly accident on deck, and it required stitches. Would they have been able to provide that service on board, or would it have been bandaged until further medical attention could be received? I don't think that they would have used them then as often as we do now, but I'm still not sure on everything. Any information will be appreciated.
 
>>Would the surgeons on board either the Titanic or Carpathia have been able to stitch wounds?<<

Yes. The hospitals on the liners were reasonably well equipped and the doctors were as good as you would find anywhere.
 
Needlework is a standard element of medical training, Ben, and quite straightforward so the stitching of wounds would be routine for any of the doctors on board. And in an emergency they would be capable of improvising with the most basic of materials.
 
Thank you for verifying that for me. I wasn't entirely sure. I thought they must have, but any confidence I had in my answer vanished when I learned that the British variant of the word "surgeon" could mean general practitioner, instead of the American variant, which simply refers to those who perform surgery. That threw me through a loop. It made me want to make sure the doctors on board could perform the procedures I wanted them to.

I am interested in another thing concerning medical appliances and abilities back in 1912. After looking up some information on them, I am assuming that surgical masks, somewhat like what we have today in the OR were used in the Edwardian Era. However, I would like to know if my assumptions are correct. Thanks again for the information.
 
At that time there were no universal standards, Ben. Some surgeons worked in gowns, caps and masks, while others wore only an apron to protect their clothing. Some used rubber gloves, others felt that they could work with more finesse if their hands were well scrubbed but uncovered.

Certainly the ancillary personnel present, like surgical nurses or an audience of students, generally were not masked. The modern ideal of aseptic surgery, in which surgical teams work in a completely germ-free environment in which even the incoming air is filtered, was beyond the technology available at that time. So they relied more on the use of chemical antiseptics which were hostile to microbes in the immediate area of the wound. This was generally effective, but could be damaging to the patient's own tissues.
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I was wondering did they call the on board ship's hospital on Carpathia or any other ship Sick Bay or did they just call it a Hospital. I know that the term sick bay was used on Star Trek and in the Navy because Gene Roddenberry the shows creator served in the Navy. But did they use the term in 1912 and on passenger liners?
 
I'm not completely sure if they used it formally on either liner, but the word sick bay was first documented in 1582, so it is a rather old word. The crew may have used the term sick bay, and a few of the more sea-worthy passengers might have used it as well. On Bruce Beveridge's plans, the hospitals are referred to as just that, hospitals. Whether or not they were referred to as sick-bays seem to be a simple matter of preference.

The word "sick-bay" seemed to be "futurized" with the development of Star Trek. Unless you were around before the development of the show, like Bob, you can't really make an accurate assumption by yourself, as you have been influenced by the television. After seeing the age of the word, I feel obligated to say that I was completely shocked. I thought it was quite a bit more recent. Still, I prefer to use the word hospital.

Now I pose a question of my own. What would they have done if someone with an infectious disease (such as chickenpox or influenza) who needed to leave the ship as it was sinking? Is this the point where I can use my imagination? Any advice or information would be appreciated.
 
'Sick bay' was originally a nautical term, but in common usage it's spread a lot further than that. In 1912 the British BoT regulations required that all immigrant ships (ie liners) were required to have a 'hospital' for the 3rd Class passengers only, but most also had a smaller facility for crew which was more likely to be referred to as a sick bay. The passenger facility, however, was officially referred to as a hospital and its attendant as a hospital steward.

Yes, Ben, I predate Star Trek by at least a century. I suggested a similar story line to Jules Verne, but he thought that warp drive and photon torpedoes were too far-fetched for his Victorian readers.

With regard to your last question, I'm sure that on a sinking ship the risk of contracting something infectious would be the least of anyone's worries. So yes, use your imagination.
 
Yes, Ben, I predate Star Trek by at least a century.
How do you keep yourself looking to young? I always wanted to ask that after reading it in Walter Lord's ANTR. Seems a Titanic survivor said the same thing to Louis Ogden a Carpathia passenger. Thanks for the info Bob.
 
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