Bushnell Days: Bushnell Amputee Patients
Bushnell Amputee Patients
Bushnell Hospital was perhaps best known as an amputee treatment center. Each general hospital, in addition to serving a specific region, also had one or more specialties, and Bushnell was one of five (later seven) amputee centers in the United States. Over 17,000 American servicemen lost one or more limbs during World War II. The doctors at Bushnell focused first on cleaning up battlefield amputations, which were often done in hurried and less-than-ideal circumstances as “guillotine”* amputations, and then on helping the amputee patients return to a normal civilian life. Bushnell also had a plastic surgery division that treated soldiers who had lost parts of their jaw or face in the war.
*A guillotine amputation is where a damaged limb is removed by cutting straight across and leaving the amputation site open. It is a faster surgery and is meant to allow infection to drain from the wound, as opposed to a closed amputation, where the bone is cut a bit shorter than the surrounding tissue so the skin can be pulled over the amputation site, forming a healed stump. Guillotine amputations are done with the expectation that a closed amputation will follow later.