Medicine: Breastplate

During bloody World War I, Surgeon Kenneth Macfarlane Walker was a captain in Great Britain's Army Medical Corps. Statistically-minded, he noted that a third of the battlefield dead died of chest wounds, that as few as 3% of chest-wound victims reached a dressing station alive. Reason: even a tiny fragment of bomb or shell, piercing the chest cavity, can easily rip a large blood vessel, bring quick death.

Captain Walker knew that bullets account for less than 40% of battle casualties, that a cigaret case, a pocket Bible, a packet of love letters will sometimes stop a metal sliver. He concluded that...

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