Trible (tamtrible) wrote in little_details,

Early 1940s-era doctor bag, and unrelated premodern surgery question

search: ("doctor bag" OR "medical kit" OR "first aid kit") (1940 OR 1942 OR 1943 OR "world war 2" OR ww2) and a few modifications

backstory: Our Heroine is a surgeon, employed by the British military in world war 2. She was Oxford-trained, but originally from the US. She's been doing actual front-line combat medicine for the last ~6 months. She is currently in the US, and is about to be tramping around in dangerous situations (probably in Europe or thereabouts) with a sharpshooter, an engineer, and a crazy woman (it's a roleplaying game, the relative implausibility of the scenario is not an issue). She will likely be able to commandeer the best commonly available equipment, without particular consideration of cost, at least while she's still in the US.

She needs to have a medical kit, but I'm not sure exactly what it would look like, or what would be in it. Ideally, it should have enough equipment and supplies to handle any emergency likely to occur, up to and including at least minor surgery. With handling of major/life threatening stuff prioritized over handling nuisance stuff, of course, and more geared towards trauma than illness. And she'd want as much in the way of essential supplies as she could reasonably be expected to carry around, since she may on occasion be out of the usual supply chain.

My best guess would be a bag something like this: or this:,leather-medical-doctors,2206520.html (edit: or would that just be what a *civilian* doctor's bag would look like, and she'd have something more along the lines of khaki canvas?)
Bandages of various sorts/shapes
cotton balls/wads/pads
morphine, both oral and injectable
some kind of sedative (Any era-appropriate suggestions? It has to be injectable, the crazy woman has an ability that means that no oral meds would work on her)
a syringe (or more than one?
sulfa powder
suture kit (just appropriate needles and thread, or something else? And what kind of thread, or, for that matter, needles? Sources suggest nylon thread, and possibly also some catgut or silk for certain special surgeries, and curved needles)
tourniquet kit/set
ammonia ampules (why?) (ed: why is answered)
boric acid ointment (why?) (ed: why is answered)

She doesn't really need a stethoscope or anything like that, since she has an ability that lets her automatically know the health state of her patients. Also, she's not likely to need anything for obstetrics, neonatal care, or pediatrics, but may need to handle... atypical injuries. The game is Scion, they may be up against things like giants, nemean animals, and various other beasties and monsters from myth and legend.
Is there anything else she's likely to need or want?
edit: looks like, thanks to a link I was given, I'm fairly good on drugs, but is there anything else in terms of equipment/tools that a surgeon would want for doing field surgery if required, that's within the range of what she can reasonably carry?
Son of edit: and am I hypothetically putting this doctor's kit in the right packaging, do you think, or do I need something more military-looking?

This one's for a story, entirely unrelated to the role-playing game in the first question. Haven't really researched it, except incidentally, but I have some notions.
Setting is Standard Fantasy Universe, roughly Renaissance-level technology (give or take a century or 2), but due to the nature of magic, a lot more is known about medicine, at least to early-modern levels (1950s or so... they've got anatomy, germ theory, and so forth pretty well down). But, obviously, nothing that couldn't be *constructed* with about Renaissance-level technology. No synthetic medicine, no plastics, et cetera.

Our Heroine, who has magic, is explaining to her apprentice, who doesn't, how she (the apprentice) should go about performing surgery (specifically, a c-section) if necessary, during the process of performing the procedure herself (with magical assistance that pretty much negates infection and sutures, but not much else). Obviously risky, under the available conditions, but not Certain Death. Do you see any flaws with how she'd suggest the apprentice go about it, as described below? (the bits in parentheses are my notes, not what she'd say)

Dose the patient with poppy wine with herbs (ie laudanum, with other stuff to boost it). Clean everything, including your hands, your tools, and the patient, with either distilled alcohol, boiling water, or clean water and strong soap. [ed] Tie the patient down securely, or get a few strong men to hold her down. [/ed] Use a very sharp knife, obsidian or flint is preferable (you can actually get a better edge with obsidian than you can with steel, even today, it just breaks more easily), and work as fast as you can reasonably manage. Cut here, like thus, open up this bit, then take out the baby [ed] and the placenta [/ed] and hand [ed]them[/ed] to someone *else* to deal with. Sew up the [ed]uteruswomb[/ed], then sew up the skin. Use silk thread, and a very sharp curved needle--practice on pigs until you get the technique down. Afterwards, keep the patient from lifting anything or moving around too much, until the cut is healed. Wash the stitched area with (herbal mixture used on cuts, I may refer to it as "lavender water") every day. If the patient shows any signs of infection--swelling, redness, fever--dose her with mold extract (ie proto-penicillin). [ed] Give her small doses of poppy wine, or if she can handle it, just willowbark tea for the post-operative pain. [/ed]
Tags: ~medicine (misc), ~medicine: historical

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