Marie Curie's Role for the Wounded in the World War I

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During World War I, there were huge advances in technology, including the creation of airplanes, U-boats, tanks, machine guns, chemical warfare. Besides the technological advances that occurred, people still engaged in trench warfare during World War I, leading to the creation of many diseases which were detrimental to soldiers’ health. Although, these dangerous things came out of World War I, each one has produced significant advances in medicine that helped save soldiers’ lives from life-threatening injuries. Even though x-rays were invented in 1895 by Wilhelm Roentgen, x-rays were widely used in WWI. An x-ray is a type of electromagnetic radiation that allows a picture to be taken inside of your body. X-rays were used to image a soldier’s body, allowing surgeons to examine broken bones and remove foreign objects such as bullets from the soldier’s body.

At the start of World War I, x-ray machines were found in military hospitals that were located far behind the lines of war. It was found difficult and time-consuming to transport and evacuate thousands of wounded soldiers from the trenches to the hospital due to the firing of enemy lines as well as the limited funds caused by the war. However, the wounded soldiers that managed to arrive at the hospitals were either dead or there was nothing medically the surgeon can do. Consequently, surgeons had to perform surgeries on wounded soldiers without the use of an x-ray machine. Broken bones and the location of bullets were all diagnosed by physical examination and the doctor’s best assumption. As a result, this was found ineffective and the soldier would eventually bleed out caused by the untreated wound. In October 1914, Marie Curie found the solution by creating the first portable x-ray. She recognised that wounded soldiers were needed to be operated as soon as possible for them to continue to serve in the war. This includes that surgeons need x-ray machines to guide them through this process. Marie’s solution was to invent mobile radiology units, also known as “Little Curies”. They were vehicles that could fit an x-ray machine along with two or more people, which can drive to the wounded solider where surgeons could use the x-ray to guide them through the surgery. However, one significant deterrent was the requirement for electrical capacity to start the X-rays. Curie tackled that issue by consolidating a dynamo into the vehicle's plan. The oil-controlled motor could in this way give the necessary power. Marie was frustrated by getting financing from the French army, so she decided to confront France's Union of Women. This philanthropic organization gave her the funds to build her first car which played a crucial role in treating wounded soldiers in the Battle of Marne.

This battle prevented the Germans from invading Paris. As the war continued the demand for more radiological cars increased so Marie asked wealthy Parisians to donate her vehicles to use. Afterwards, she had received 20 vehicles where she installed x-ray machines. However, these cars were useless without having trained x-ray operators. Marie recruited and educated 20 women in her training course. Her training course included the hypothetical guidance about the physics of electricity and x-rays, just as reasonable exercises in life systems and photographic handling. When she had finished training these women and left for the front, Marie began to train more women. At last, a sum of 150 ladies got X-ray training from Curie. At the end of World War I, Marie Curie’s invention of the mobile X-ray units have saved over one million wounded soldiers. Today, X-rays have impacted the medical field today in many ways, such as scanning for broken bones, foreign objects and cancer in a human’s body. Presently, Marie Curie’s invention is still being used in war settings, but not only is it used in medical settings, but its used to find explosives, money and drugs also known as an X-ray gun.

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Marie Curie’s Role for the Wounded in the World War I. (2020, December 14). WritingBros. Retrieved February 29, 2024, from
“Marie Curie’s Role for the Wounded in the World War I.” WritingBros, 14 Dec. 2020,
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