Battle of the beams

“The first cases were unpleasant to say the least…”

Harvey Cushing

In 1940 British Surgeons were not very happy. All of their diathermy machines had been rounded up by the Ministry of Air Defence. Diathermy for use in surgery was developed by Harvard scientist William T Bovie. It was first used in 1926, by the pioneering Boston Neurosurgeon, Harvey Cushing. These must have been wild times – 2 of the first 3 patients were electrocuted on the operating table. During the Battle of Britain in WW2, the Luftwaffe targeted their night bombing raids using overlapping radio-wave beams. The Knickebein system allowed accurate bomb drops at night, when the British fighters were rendered ineffective. The British became aware of the targeting system and discovered that massed batteries of diathermy machines could produce radio frequencies sufficient to disrupt and redirect the German signals. As a result, most hospital diathermy machines were seconded for deployment in this new defensive role. #whatsettingforthecoag #letsmakelemonade

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