Do you know that the term triage may have originated during the Napoleonic Wars from the work of Dominique Jean Larrey. Those responsible for the removal of the wounded from a battlefield or their care afterwards would divide the victims into three categories:
- Those who are likely to live, regardless of what care they receive;
- Those who are likely to die, regardless of what care they receive;
- Those for whom immediate care might make a positive difference in outcome
At Waterloo in 1815 the courage of Dominique Jean Larrey under fire was noticed by the Duke of Wellington who ordered his soldiers not to fire in his direction so as to “give the brave man time to gather up the wounded” and saluted “the courage and devotion of an age that is no longer ours”. Larrey was taken prisoner by the Prussians and condemned to death. However, he was recognized by one of the German surgeons, who pleaded for his life. Perhaps partly because he had saved the life of Blücher's son when he was wounded and taken prisoner by the French, he was pardoned, invited to Blücher's dinner table as a guest and taken back to France under escort. He devoted the remainder of his life to writing and a civilian medical career.