The Civil War era was an age-defining period in the history of the United States of America, the effects of which are still seen in the nation today. In this era, the issue of head injury pervaded society. From the president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, to the officers and soldiers of the Union and Confederate armies, and to the population at large, head injury and its ramifications gripped the nation. This article focuses on 3 individuals: Major General John Sedgwick, First Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing, and Harriet Tubman, as examples of the impact that head injury had during this era. These 3 individuals were chosen for this article because of their lasting legacies, contributions to society, and interesting connections to one another.
Victor M. Sabourin, Ryan Holland, Christine Mau, Chirag D. Gandhi and Charles J. Prestigiacomo
Prateeka Koul, Christine Mau, Victor M. Sabourin, Chirag D. Gandhi and Charles J. Prestigiacomo
World War I advanced the development of aviation from the concept of flight to the use of aircraft on the battlefield. Fighter planes advanced technologically as the war progressed. Fighter pilot aces Francesco Baracca and Manfred von Richthofen (the Red Baron) were two of the most famous pilots of this time period. These courageous fighter aces skillfully maneuvered their SPAD and Albatros planes, respectively, while battling enemies and scoring aerial victories that contributed to the course of the war. The media thrilled the public with their depictions of the heroic feats of fighter pilots such as Baracca and the Red Baron. Despite their aerial prowess, both pilots would eventually be shot down in combat. Although the accounts of their deaths are debated, it is undeniable that both were victims of traumatic head injury.
Ryan Holland, Victor M. Sabourin, Chirag D. Gandhi, Peter W. Carmel and Charles J. Prestigiacomo
As his fellow soldiers ran past him, Joseph Warren stood bravely on Bunker Hill. It was June 17, 1775, and British troops were fighting the colonists in one of the early battles of the American Revolution. The British had already attempted two major assaults that day, and the third would end with Warren’s death. He was a medical doctor, public figure, and general who spent his life and last living moments fighting for freedom for the American colonists.
After the battle, there was much confusion about what had happened to Joseph Warren. Some thought he had survived the battle; other accounts differed on how exactly he had died. The details of the events on Bunker Hill remained a mystery until the following year, when Paul Revere helped identify Warren’s body by the false teeth that had been implanted years earlier. Warren’s remains showed that his head had been struck by a bullet.
Analysis of the skull helped to sift through the differing tales of Warren’s death and thus unveil the truth about what occurred that day. The smaller bullet wound in the left maxilla suggests that he was not shot while retreating with the rest of the soldiers. The larger exit wound in the right occiput illustrates that the bullet’s trajectory crossed the midline of the brain and most likely injured the brainstem. Therefore, contrary to rumors that circulated at the time, Joseph Warren most likely was killed instantly at the Battle of Bunker Hill while heroically facing his enemy.
Karen Man, Victor M. Sabourin, Chirag D. Gandhi, Peter W. Carmel and Charles J. Prestigiacomo
Pierre Curie, best known as a Nobel Laureate in Physics for his co-contributions to the field of radioactivity alongside research partner and wife Marie Curie, died suddenly in 1906 from a street accident in Paris. Tragically, his skull was crushed under the wheel of a horse-drawn carriage. This article attempts to honor the life and achievements of Pierre Curie, whose trailblazing work in radioactivity and piezoelectricity set into motion a wide range of technological developments that have culminated in the advent of numerous techniques used in neurological surgery today. These innovations include brachytherapy, Gamma Knife radiosurgery, focused ultrasound, and haptic feedback in robotic surgery.
Victor M. Sabourin, Manan Shah, Frederick Yick, Chirag D. Gandhi and Charles J. Prestigiacomo
The American Revolution was a gruesome warthat resulted in the independence of the United States of America from the British crown and countless casualties to both belligerents. However, from these desperate times, the treatment of traumatic head injury was elucidated, as were the origins of American neurosurgery in the 18th century. During the war, the surgical manual used by military field surgeons was titled Plain Concise Practical Remarks on the Treatment of Wounds and Fractures, by Dr. John Jones. This manual explains the different types of cranial injuries understood at that time as well as the relevant surgical treatment. This article seeks to review the surgical treatment of head injury in the Revolutionary War as outlined by Dr. Jones’s manual.