Amputations, acid gargles and ammonia rubs: Royal Navy surgeons’ 1793-1880 journals revealed

It wasn’t so much rum, sodomy and the lash the men had to fear in the navy 200 years ago, as the ship’s surgeon heading towards them with a reassuring smile, a saw in one hand and a poison bottle in the other.

Brandy enemas, a strychnine injection, a sulphuric acid gargle, ammonia rubbed on the lips, and three and a half pints of blood taken from a man with pneumonia are all recorded as attempted cures in a century of gruesome and fascinating journals of Royal Navy ship surgeons revealed at the National Archives: all failed — via redwolf.newsvine.com

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