Lord Nelson was Back to Work Half An Hour After Losing Arm

Thursday, October 29, 2009

photo: 1.bp.blogspot.com

LONDON - Vice Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson was back to work half an hour after his arm was amputated following a hit by a musket ball in July 1797, according to journals in the National Archive. The research team from National Archives in Kew have gathered personal accounts written by surgeons at sea from 1200 journals, which showed some of the first scientific investigations into diseases such as scurvy.
According to the ‘The Independent’, a handful of journals described the outstanding speed and skill with which medics nursed Nelson back to health from surgery - twice.
At first, Nelson was hit in the right arm by a musket ball soon after stepping ashore on the Spanish island of Tenerife in July 1797. He was taken to HMS Theseus for treatment with heavy bleeding and his hand had to be amputated. It is claimed that within 30 minutes of having his right arm cut off, Nelson was again issuing orders to his men, reports the Telegraph.
On 25 July the ship’s surgeon, James Farquhar, wrote in his journal: “Compound fracture of the right arm by a musket ball passing thro a little above the elbow; an artery divided; the arm was immediately amputated.”
On 1 August Farquhar noted: “Admiral Nelson; amputated arm; continued getting well very fast. Stump looked well; no bad symptoms whatever occurred… The sore reduced to the size of a shilling in perfect good health, one of the ligatures not come away.”
Nelson was shot in the head at the Battle of the Nile in August 1798 and was rushed to HMS Vanguard. He was discharged after one month despite a gaping hole in his head. The surgeon’s log read: “Wound on the forehead over the right eye, the cranium is bare for more than an inch, the wound three inches long. Discharged 1 September. The wound was perfectly healed on the first September but as the integuments were much enlarged, I applied (every night) a compress wet with a discutient embrocation for nearly a month which was of great service.” (ANI)


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