The professional identity and medical practice of the medical officers of the British army had changed significantly between the outbreak of war in 1793 and the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. This chapter will demonstrate that the military medicine they practised was a significant force in the development of British medicine more generally in the years following the Wars.
It is now clear that the emergence of hospital medicine in France owed much to military medicine. However, the transition to hospital medicine in Britain is generally acknowledged to have developed more gradually than on the Continent and to have been influenced by a wide variety of changes within a vibrant ‘medical marketplace’ where older models continued to exist alongside hospital medicine for a much longer period. The militarized medicine that had been embraced by British military medical officers shared many characteristics with hospital medicine, particularly the exertion of control over patients, the classification and segregation of different disease and surgical classes, and an ontological, lesion-based understanding of disease. As they flooded back into the civilian marketplace, British medical officers helped to bring this type of medicine to their patients and communities. At the same time, British medicine experienced the rise of the general practitioner, a professional identity that blurred the traditional line between physic and surgery that the military medical officer also advocated.
The benefits of military medicine to the general community were also advocated from within the AMD where McGrigor presided over the promotion of the discoveries and achievements of his medical officers.
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