"Vertigo, vomiting, stupidity, haemorrhage, loss of sense, either partial or total, are the symptoms of this kind of mischief..."

by Percival Pott (1778)

Warring nations have always given physicians both the obligation and the opportunity to find new ways in which to treat trauma. Despite the fact that invasive surgery was not possible prior to the nineteenth century discovery of anesthesia, many important surgical innovations resulted from the desperate efforts made by military physicians whose wards were suddenly overrun with battered troops.