b. Misunderstanding About Its Scientific Uses. A New York newspaper of
the late 1890's printed the following misinformation attributing outlandish powers to the
new x-rays: "At the college for physicians and surgeons, the Roentgen rays were used
to reflect anatomic diagrams directly into the brains of the students, making a much
more enduring impression than the ordinary methods of learning anatomical details."
1-14. EARLY APPLICATIONS
a. Foreign Body Localization and Identification of Fractures. Despite
popular misconceptions, the scientific community recognized the potential value of
x-rays in the treatment and assessment of disease, scientific research, and industry.
b. Immediate Use As a Surgical Aid Within the Military Medical Community.
The military medical community almost immediately recognized the value of x-rays as
an aid to surgical procedures.. There is evidence that by 1896, military physicians in
both Italy and England were using x-rays to localize bullets and diagnose fractures. In
1896, for example, LTC Giuseppe Alvaro of Italy used x-rays to localize bullets in the
forearms of two separate patients during the "Ethiopian Campaign." In the same year,
MAJ W.C. Beevor of Britain used x-rays on the battlefield during the "Tirah Campaign"
in India. There is also evidence of the use of x-rays in the "River War" of 1896 - 1898 in
India and Pakistan. The first recorded use of x-rays by the US Army was in
1898 during the "Spanish-American War." The Dutch in the "Boer War of 1899" also
c. Military Surgeons, the First Roentgenologists. The first roentgenologists,
or radiologists, were military surgeons using x-rays to localize bullets, identify fractures,
etc. During "World War I," the heavy workload of surgeons led to the use of enlisted
soldiers to serve as manipulators, individuals trained to assist surgeons in taking
radiographs. These manipulators were the equivalent of today's radiological
technologists or, for the Army, X-ray Specialists.