Serendipitous Consequence of Fate

March 3, 2017

     In the American Civil War, a conflict that ranks in the annals of all recorded human history as one of the costliest in lives and debilitating injuries the surgical survival rate of soldiers on each side varied markedly in one major aspect: treated Southern troops tended to fair better postoperatively from surgically-related infection, than their Northern counterparts. This was due in no small measure not to superior surgical skill or knowledge but rather the serendipitous consequence of fate. 

     At that time in our history, wound suturing was routinely done with black silk thread, a commodity readily available to most Union surgeons. Their counterparts in the Southern ranks, finding silk a difficult item to acquire, used instead horse-hair made supple enough for sewing usage by soaking in urine.

     Little did they realize it at the time (bacteria not yet known about) as the causative vectors of infection, urine in its partially 'rendered' form as uric acid, has a marked disinfectant quality if not a sterilizing one. 

     This had a profound consequence for many a soldier depending upon his circumstance!



*Dr. Bastian is a big history buff. You'll always find him interesting to engage in conversation. Schedule your cleaning and check-up today and come see what you might learn. 

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