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Trephine Saw

From the collections of the
Kentucky Historical Society
Accession Number 1999.43.32

Trephine Saw, c. 1863

4 3/4" x 3 5/8" x 7/8"

Caring for wounded soldiers was very difficult during the Civil War. The weapons were more advanced and caused more serious injuries than in the past. Sometimes soldiers had to be carried a long way on stretchers before they could be treated. Doctors didn’t have a lot of the medicines we have today, and people didn’t know about germs. Most soldiers on both sides died from their wounds. But, surgeons tried to save soldiers’ lives. This is a saw called a trephine (treh-fine). It was used to drill a hole in the skull when a soldier had been shot in the head.

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