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During the Civil War, Middleton Goldsmith revolutionized the treatment of gangrene, bringing mortality rates (presumably of wounded soldiers) from 45% to 3%, according to Wikipedia.

Do we have any data to suggest what mortality rates would have been at the time without treatment by doctors? I'm most interested in whether or not the number is above or below 45%--the root question is whether or not surgical treatment of gangrene helped or harmed, but I would much rather try to answer that with statistics than observations about medical practice. (For example, I know that al-Kharzawi recommended amputation, and thus it was standard practice in the West, but that doesn't tell me that it actually helped.)

  • Before that time medical "statistics" were not commonly collected. Also, gangrene was much less well understood. – Tyler Durden Sep 29 '15 at 19:02
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    Jean Larrey's flying ambulances, modeled on French horse artillery, was doing that for Napoleon decades earlier. – Pieter Geerkens Sep 30 '15 at 5:34

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