Amputation saw/procedure

In Middlemarch we know of Lydgates medical practices as well as how it appears throughout episode 3. In a particular scene we find him trying to help a sick woman in this hospital. Another doctor thought the woman needed surgery but Lydgate assured him that was not true and proceeded to pack up his medical gear which included a large saw. We assume from this scene that the saw was used for amputation. To further my research of the amputation saw, I learned that it all starts with the early surgeons including Benjamin Bell who became the first scientific surgeon in scotland. Benjamin advocated the use of opium in post-operative recovery to speed healing. Another surgeon, James Syme, developed the Syme's Amputation for the ankle joint as well as achieving the first hip disarticulation.  An amputation saw was a part of a whole set and had many specific uses for each saw in the sets. Many of these saw were non-metallic and had a pistol-grip shape. A common bone saw used in the 1850’s had an ivory handle. Anesthesia was not really used during this time period since it was later formulated by James Young Simpson who discovered chloroform during the late 1800’s. 

I am very worried about my father's condition. He is only 43-years-old and has hurt his leg very badly while working. He supports my 39-year-old mother and I through this hard working constructing job, he builds homes for the more fortunate. And I, only being 18, do not have a husband yet and have only him to support us both. At work this past friday, a horrible accident broke-out with a large stone falling onto his leg. He was rushed to the hospital by a few other workers who tried to help out, but his bones were shattered up to the thigh. Our trustworthy Doctor Lydgate, says that there are not many options but to amputate his leg up to the mid-thigh area. We were told by one of the nurses that he will feel the tearing of muscle throughout most of the procedure, this is very alarming to me. I am quite worried about his recovery and that we will lose a lot of money due to this costly surgery. We are not the wealthiest of families around Middlemarch but are hopeful that doctor Lydgate will help us through both the amputation surgery as well as hopefully the finance portion.

Works Cited:

Doug Arbittier, Michael Echols. Antique Amputation and Surgical Saws, www.medicalantiques.com/medical/Amputation_saws.htm. 

“History of Surgery.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 6 Sept. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_surgery. 

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

circa. 1800 to circa. 1850