Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room, September 2013

HANS VON GERSDORFF (ca. 1455-1529). Feldtbuch der Wundartzney. Strasbourg: Bey Hans Schotten, 1530.

Gersdorff was a milGersdorff-149-lxxii-001itary surgeon who gained wide experience during forty years of campaigning and was an expert in the treatment of battlefield injuries. His work covers anatomy, surgery, leprosy, and glossaries of anatomical terms, diseases, and medications. Gersdorff emphasized a well-founded knowledge of anatomy because the surgeon was frequently called on to deal with extensive bodily trauma. He derived his anatomy from Arabic authors and works of Guy de Chauliac. The surgical portion of the work was devoted to wound surgery and covers the methods he employed for extracting foreign objects and amputating limbs. He used a tourniquet to control bleeding when amputating and covered the stump with the bladder of a bovine to help control postoperative hemorrhaging. Of special interest are the sedatives and analgesics, although he appears not to have used them in his practice. The section on leprosy is given over largely to remedies for a disease he did not believe could be cured.