By Hadas Kuznits
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Mutter Museum at the College of Physicians in Philadelphia celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War this weekend. A special event was held at the museum Saturday in conjunction with a new exhibit there about the Civil War soldier:
Robert Hicks, director of the Mutter Museum and historical medical library at the College of Physicians explains “Hospital Day” at the Museum tells the story of the civil War soldier, in particular, the black soldier of the day:
“The health story is bizarre because at the beginning of the recruitment of black soldiers, almost the entire medical establishment is white and many in fact white physicians had never actually seen a black patient.”
Hicks says some of the methods used to treat war veterans such as amputees was both revolutionary and strange:
“One of the doctors said electricity was sometimes the only means to get nerves functioning normally again. They were using batteries and also self-generating alternating currents that could deliver an electric charge.”
And Hicks adds the Civil War also created a huge learning curve for doctors.