History of wound care.The impact of wound care in US healthcare today. Help for my term paper on wound care.
Since time began, the human body has had to deal with open wounds due to injuries or diseases. The natural method of skin growth over a wound is slow and explains why infection of the wound by germs or parasites is common. Pressure sores have been found on 5,000 year old mummies in Egypt.The ancient Egyptians used honey as a wound treatment as early as 3000 BC and it has been found in Egyptian tombs.
Hippocrates, a Greek physician and surgeon, 460-377 BC, known as the father of medicine, used vinegar to irrigate open wounds and wrapped dressings around wounds to prevent further injury. Galen, a notable Roman surgeon was first to recognize that pus from wounds inflicted by the gladiators preceded wound healing.
The 19th century brought significant advances in wound treatment. Joseph Lister, a Professor of Surgery in London, recognized that antisepsis could prevent infection. Lister placed carbolic acid into open fractures to sterilize the wound and prevent sepsis. Changes were also made to sterilize the surroundings of a wounded patient. Hand washing prior to care along with sterilization of instruments as well as wearing of gowns, masks and gloves began in 1880's.
The scale of wound infections was most evident in times of war. During the American Civil War, infected wounds accounted for some 17,000 deaths. World War I brought new types of wounds from advanced weaponry and contamination from the trenches. A Belgian military surgeon, Depage, introduced wound debridement and delayed wound closure and would use microbiological assessment to determine if wound was safe for closure
The use of antibiotics ushered in a new era in wound care. Penicillin was first used clinically in 1940. However, the use of antibiotics did not end wound infections as resistant bacteria and new surgical interventions has risen. The primary method for wound management is prevention. The use of systemic antibiotics and surgical drainage and excision of damaged tissue are primary methods of wound management in present day.
Some ancient methods have resurfaced as modern methods of wound care. Honey is now processed for surgical use and is prized for its antiseptic properties. Silver is also an additive to dressings as it also has antiseptic and other healing properties.