The Spanish Civil War ended 70 years ago today. Author George Orwell participated in the conflict and was wounded by a sniper’s bullet. During his treatment and recovery Orwell spent some days at a hospital in Tarragona. In his book Homage to Catalonia, he describes his time there:
“The hospital at Tarragona was a very big one and full of wounded from all fronts. What wounds one saw there! They had a way of treating certain wounds which I suppose was in accordance with the latest medical practice, but which was peculiarly horrible to look at. This was to leave the wound completely open and unbandaged, but protected from flies by a new of mutter-muslin, stretched over wires. Under the muslin you woud see the red jelly of a half-healed wound. There was one man wounded in the face and throat who had his head inside a sort of spherical helmet of butter-muslin; his mouth was closed up and he breathed through a little tube that was fixed between his lops. Poor devil, he looked to lonely, wandering to and fro, looking at you through his muslin cage and unable to speak. I was three or four days at Tarragona.” (Orwell 1966, 192)
Christopher R. Albon is a political science Ph.D. specializing in armed conflict, public health, human security, and health diplomacy.