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Medical Advances during the Vietnam War. How the Vietnam War Changed Modern Medicine

©2020 Facharbeit (Schule) 26 Seiten


This paper examines the influence of the Vietnam War on the medicine of the 21st century by evaluating the medical advances achieved, as well as continual health issues caused. Firstly, the medical circumstances including the medical issues that were unique to Vietnam are portrayed. In the following chapter, the medical advances made during the Vietnam Era with reference to evacuation and hospital care are examined.

To exemplify those advances, the paper describes the way of a wounded soldier from evacuation to recovery. In the third part, unresolved medical problems caused by the Vietnam War are explained. Special attention will be given to trauma care and the health consequences of chemical compounds, such as Agent Orange.

War medicine is a paradoxical field. Whereas war always involves devastation, agony, and death, the goal of medicine is to relieve pain, promote health, and enable a peaceful end of life. Therefore, the claim that war is beneficial for medicine initially seems immoral, as it euphemizes the horrendous human cost of combat. Yet, history has shown that urgency, national crisis, and high occurrence of casualties during wartime can catalyse medical progress.

Nearly all wars have led to medical inventions that are still applied in today's medicine. In the 19th century, the American Civil War brought the use of anaesthesia. During WWI, blood transfusions were introduced, and WWII revealed the importance of antibiotics. Therefore, I assumed that the overall mortality of soldiers has steadily decreased within the last few centuries due to continuous advancement in medicine.

Referring to those facts, it seems reasonable that the Vietnam War has also led to medical paradigm shifts. Since little research has been done on the medical achievements and drawbacks of this war, the question arises as to how the Vietnam conflict has changed modern medicine.

Titel: Medical Advances during the Vietnam War. How the Vietnam War Changed Modern Medicine