Surgical Instruments

Description

Over the centuries many different tools have been used in surgery.  Yet, it is likely a mid-19th Century doctor would be familiar with many of them today.  For others, such as the "laser knife, the 19th century surgeon would be amazed. 

There are a great variety of instruments used to grasp like forceps, cut like scalpels,  close blood vessels like clamps, and to open skin and tissue like retractors.  Modern tools have one thing in common.  Virtually all of them must be made so they can be sterilized.  Even the robotic surgical machines must be made as germ-free as possible.

Many, like those on display from the 1940’s are made from stainless steel. Perhaps the greatest step in surgical tools came recently with the introduction of robotic surgery where the doctor doesn’t even touch the patient.

Story Associated with Item

Many of these items come from a military surgical kit dated 1915.  It is known that Dr. James C. Willis, Sr. was Chief Surgeon to the Brownsville, Texas Military Hospital in 1916.  During this period U,S. Army troops moved across the Mexican border in search of Pancho Villa, the Mexican bandit and revolutionary who had raided the town of Columbus, New Mexico killing several civilians.  

Location in Museum

In the Operating Room case

Age

20th Century
  • Surgical Instruments, Surgert, military, circa 1915, (6)
  • Surgical Instruments, Surgert, military, circa 1915, (4)
  • Surgical Instruments, Surgert, military, circa 1915, Canvas carrying case,
  • Surgical Instruments, Surgert, military, circa 1915, (5)
  • Surgical Instruments, Surgert, military, circa 1915,
  • Surgical Instruments, Surgert, military, circa 1915, (2)