A Gruesome Surgery

In Philadelphia, surgeons “trepanned” the wounded Richard Mansergh St. George using a skull saw like this British-made example. The surgeons cut out a disk of St. George’s skull to relieve swelling on his brain and covered it with “a little silver plate.” Martin Hunter witnessed the operation and remembered that St. George remained conscious but silent the entire time. This successful surgery helped save St. George’s life.

Iron, Steel, Wood
Courtesy of the Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia

Skull Fracture

Scottish surgeon Charles Bell sketched this portrait of a soldier who survived a gunshot to the head at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The soldier’s fractured skull suggests the severity of the head wound that Richard Mansergh St. George survived at Germantown.

Gunshot fracture of skull
Painted by Charles Bell
Watercolor on Paper
Courtesy of Army Medical Services Museum (UK)