What Instruments Were in Stephen Maturin’s Medical Bag?

As a surgeon in the Royal Navy, Stephen Maturin would have had to have certain medical tools with him, inspected by the Company of Surgeons (existed 1745 -1800; then became Royal College of Surgeons). This article, with photographs of devices from that time – The navy surgeon’s chest: surgical instruments of the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic War – offers a great deal of information on the practice of medicine onboard a ship. An 1806 treatise – The Naval Surgeon – provides an in-depth contemporary look on this topic. The Journal of the Royal Naval Medical Society has a special issue – (vol. 86#2, 2000) – devoted to Health in the Royal Navy during the Age of Nelson; its vol. 91 #2, 2005 also carries several articles pertaining to this. And this transcript of a lecture – Surgeons at Sea: The Naval surgeon and health of the seaman in the age of Nelson – is worth a perusal (scroll down the lecture list until you arrive at Tuesday, October 22).

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