How War Drove Medical Advances: Examples Throughout Modern History

May 28, 2015

13 Slides

How War Drove Medical Advances: Examples Throughout History

Many would like to prove wrong the American philosopher George Santayana, who wrote in the 1920s: “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

The sad truth, though, is that some of humanity’s greatest technological advances have occurred amid the crisis of war, and that is true of medical devices as well. Whether it was the U.S. Civil War 150 years ago or World War I 100 years ago or World War II 75 years ago, innovation accelerated.

The situation makes one wonder whether the medtech needs something like the original space race in the 1960s, which President John F. Kennedy envisioned as a way to create technological advances through means other than war. The medical device industry needs its own path to such moonshot thinking.

Here’s a look at some of the major medical advances developed in order to patch up human bodies mangled by the brutality of war:

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