Teh Dino! (dinogrrl) wrote in little_details,
Teh Dino!

Stab wound/hemothorax treatment in early 1700s

I'll put this behind a cut in case people don't want to read medical stuff.

Setting is Venice (Italy) in ~1710s, fantasy. The character is a physician who is able to use magic. His magic specifically deals with infectious disease and the treatment and prevention thereof, and infections in general. He is attacked and gets stabbed once in the right side of his chest, which results in a serious right-sided hemothorax. The character is able to get back to his home (he has medical equipment at home), and is still conscious and able to speak and thus could, if needed, direct someone else to help him out.

What sort of treatment(s) were done for stab wounds at this time? I've got info from the 1300s, and then info from the late 1800s. I would hope that there was at least SOME advancement between the 1300s and early 1700s but I do realize that may not be the case. I just don't know where/how to find out. I know modern treatment is a chest tube in most cases, did they do something similar back then?
What sort of after-effects might he experience once he's healed up (ie scarring in the pleural cavity)? He does not need to worry about infection, since he's got magic to combat that, but he has to rely on the current state of medicine for healing of wounds, pain control, etc.

(I'm a vet tech so feel free to throw medical terms at me! We treat hemothorax in animals pretty much the same way you do in people, I gather. I'm just having trouble with historical information.)
Tags: 1710-1719, italy (misc), ~medicine: injuries: historical, ~medicine: injuries: stab wounds
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Allow me to recommend to you the joy that is the Google Book search. You can specify your timeframe, which I have done here by allowing books only up to 1720.


As far as I can read (it's a bit difficult with the old-fashioned grammar), they knew to use a tube in water to suck the air out of the cavity, clean out the wound with Liquor (something like Brandy I should think), make the patient breath in and out hard to reinflate the lung, put a tent (patch?) over the wound, and then if they don't die of infection, they have a good chance of recovery.
I think this may be exactly what I'm looking for! Yeah I forget Google Book exists.
Next little detail in need of figuring out: any ideas what the 'bending pipe' would have been made of? I've come across a few references to flexible silver urinary catheters from that time period (not sure how these would have been constructed), but I'm wondering if it would have been (or could have been, in a pinch) something made from leather or animal gut? I spent a good hour trawling antique medical instrument sites a bit ago, and I haven't found images of anything that I could call a 'bending pipe' that dates from prior to the mid-19th century or so. Rigid tubes are easy enough to figure out, it's the 'bending'/flexible part that's giving me a headache.
I wouldn't be surprised if they used leather - oiled leather is waterproof and can be stitched pretty tight. Or a silver pipe coming out of a leather hose.

And for something very flexible, nothing like the old cured sheep gut. If it works for condoms, it'll work for air.
That's kinda the way I was leaning. Thanks for your help!