"Medicine in the American Revolution"
Ronald S. Gibbs, MD
Disease was a big part of everyday life in the American Colonies, and the conditions of The American Revolutionary War made things even worse. For every soldier dying of wounds in the war, seven died of infections including smallpox, malaria, and typhus. The prevailing medical thinking of the day hadn’t really changed much since ancient times, and with the best of intensions, doctors treated these diseases with bleedings , leeches, and purges. Wounds of the head, chest and abdomen were almost always fatal, and those of the arms or legs often led to amputation. This operation was carried out without any anesthesia and without hygiene. The result was a gruesome and often fatal ordeal. We’ll also learn about the doctors and the hospitals caring for the Revolutionary War soldiers.
Dr. Gibbs grew up in Philadelphia and developed a passion for the American Revolution, cartography, and medical history. During medical school, he researched 18th Century medicine and won the History of Medicine Prize at graduation from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a Board Member of Brandywine Battlefield Park Associates and is President of the California Map Society. After medical school, he became an obstetrician-gynecologist. Early in his medical career, he served as a Major in the Army Medical Corps at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, DC. He is Clinical Professor at Stanford University and was formerly Professor and Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at The University of Colorado. A revered expert on infections in pregnancy, he has written hundreds of medical articles and some on history, and he has lectured nationally on medicine and on history. He has provided service to The National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and numerous other professional organizations and medical journals. “The Long Shot: The Secret History of 1776,” his first novel, was published in 2020.