The Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum is offering a virtual lecture week it is advising is “not for the faint-of heart.”
It’s a fascinating subject, but not for the squeamish. “You have been warned,” says the museum news release about The First Cut is the Deepest, a look at medical practices in the army during the Regency Period.
It “was not exactly sophisticated,” made up of a lot of improvisations — and whiskey, Scott Finlay will tell us in his lecture exploring surgical training in the 18th century, the various medical substances used at that time, as well as displays of some of the surgeon’s tools of the trade.
Staples of the surgeon’s toolbox were leeches, bone saws, chisels, pliers, clamps and drills, and not an anaesthetic in sight. That’s where the whiskey came in useful. And much of the immediate nursing of the wounded and dying on the battlefield was left to camp followers, the wives and women who followed their men in battle.
The life of a soldier in military camps during the 18th century would have been dirty, cramped, bleak, a perfect place for disease and illness to spread, and hardly a place for battle wounds to heal.
But everything they learned in those harsh conditions would influence the future of medical care.
The virtual lecture is Wednesday Feb. 24, at 11 a.m., “and be ready for your toes to curl.”
Scott Finlay has been an interpretation officer and corporate events coordinator with Parks Canada since 2010. He is well-known in Niagara for his portrayal of General Isaac Brock in many re-enactments, and is a popular emcee for many community events.
As a professional corporate entertainer, facilitator and creative director for 25 years, Finlay has performed at more than a thousand conferences and participated in numerous corporate videos and television presentations.
Registration is required for the lecture at www.nhsm.ca/events.
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