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In the Second World War, trauma care improved alongside advances in medicine:

  • the discovery of penicillin in 1929 reduced complications from wound infections

  • emergency transport systems during conflict continued to improve, this decreased transport times and improved mortality rates [1].

  • hypovolemic shock was better understood in the 1930’s due to work by Blalock [5] and these principles were implemented by physicians during WW II.

  • the management of  pneumothorax, hemothorax and penetrating chest trauma improved due to the sheer volume of cases, this resulted in decreased mortality.[3]



1. Trunkey, D.D. (2000). "History and Development of Trauma Care in the United States." Clin Orthop 1 (374): 36-46.

3. Molner, T.F. (2004). "Changing Dogmas: History of Development in Treatment Modalities of Traumatic Pneumotorax, Hemothorax, and Posttraumatic Empyema Thoracis." Annals of Thoracic Surgery 77:372-8.

5. Blalock A. Acute circulatory failure as exemplified by shock and hemorrhage. Surg Gynecol Obstet1934;58:551.

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