War Surgery

There is a documentary on war surgery (be warned: it’s quite graphic) that was brought to my attention. It was produced by the the medical division of the International Committee of the Red Cross and shows general principles of war surgery covering things like wound debridement, lower limb amputations, skin grafting of injuries from land mines and high velocity impacts.

I’ve just come around to watch it and well … it’s not easy to stomach … 😐 Though the documentary seems quite old and not of good audio-visual quality it’s still quite “graphic”. There are basically two levels you have to deal with in comprehending what you are seeing.

The first one is that war is nasty. And it produces some seriously disturbing imagery that stays even when the actual combat action is over … considering mines there, doesn’t even need to be “combat action” any where to result in casualties. People wounded under such circumstances don’t really get medical attention immediately and if they do, it’s most likely inadequate. So when they reach a adequately equipped facility their wounds will be in quite a bad state. But one thing that you begin to realize and that makes your stomach cringe is the realization, that in contrast to (fire, vehicle, etc.) accidents that may produce similarly graphic injuries war injuries are inflicted deliberately! :/

The second thing is the reality of surgery. This might come as a surprise to some of you, but surgeries – especially on non-healthy tissue – look quite nasty in themselves. Some get easily upset from blood or scars on the surface, but the world that is underneath your skin is quite squirmy (if that’s the right word 😉 ). It’s gory, it’s gooey and you might realize that though the person being operated on is unconscious he is quite “alive” inside … and then there is the surgeon cutting, clamping, “soldering” (i forgot the medical term), sewing, etc. … and they are not very gentle at doing that … 😐

So be warned, this is “starker Tobak” as Germans would say. 😉