Ship Surgeon Amputates 1703

Admiralty Report


About Ship Surgeon Amputates 1703. This is a description of an amputation, which was the common cure all for most injuries in the 18th Century. Below is the text of Ship’s Surgeon Amputates 1703. The names available to be personalized are in red.

Ship Surgeon Amputates


John Ballett surgeon aboard the Cinque Ports operated in a small space below the gun deck where he tied splints to fractured bones, raked out bullets embedded in flesh, stitched gunshot wounds, treated burns with quinces and purslain, cracked dislocations more or less back to place and amputated shattered feet and hands.

Ballett thought it wise to amputate in the mornings, but never at full moon. His dismenbering saws were kept well-filed, clean and in oiled cloths to protect them from rust. He had an assortment of knives, mallets, chisels and stitching needles, some strong waxed thread, rolls of crude cotton and large bowls filled with ashes to catch blood.

The amputee had to give consent and was told that he might die. ‘It is no small presumption to dismember the Image of God.’ Two strong men held the patient down. the instruments were kept from his view. (1. Surgeon’s name) Ballett, ‘with a steady hand and good speed, cut off Flesh, Sinewes and all to the bone’. He left flaps of skin. He then sawed through the bone, sewed the flaps, stemming the bleeding with cotton and propped the stump up high with a pillow under it. There was a vessel for amputated limbs ’till you have opportunity to heave them Overboard’.

Even if only the foot was crushed the surgeons took off most of the leg, ‘the Pain is all one, and it is most profitable to the Patient, for a long Stumpe were but troublesom’. There were dismembering nippers for amputating fingers and toes.