Curious State
Curious State
Jun 21, 2022
How'd they fix wounded soldiers' faces in WWI? | feat. Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris
Play • 21 min

The First World War saw the dawn of fighting in the skies and advanced, savage warfare on the ground. Maimed soldiers lucky enough to survive were unlucky enough to live in a time when medical tech was vastly outpaced by war tech. That struggle to keep up meant uncertain futures for wounded soldiers—especially when it came to facial injuries. Medical historian Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris takes us behind the scenes of a medical revolution: the birth of plastic surgery.

A few curiosities you’ll uncover in this episode:

  • Why did soldiers with facial injuries sit on blue benches?
  • How do you reconstruct a face?
  • Were injured men called back to the front lines?

Get a copy of Dr. Fitzharris' book, The Facemaker: A Visionary Surgeon's Battle to Mend the Disfigured Soldiers of World War I, at Amazon, Audible, or

Did You Know?

8-10 million people died in WWI, with twice as many injured—often seriously.


Curious State is a Quick and Dirty Tips podcast hosted and produced by Doug Fraser.

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