Tonight we have an example of the ‘Large Mine Dressing’, a field dressing used for the immediate treatment of wounds:This example is covered in blue paper (sadly now rather damaged) and has instructions printed on the front for its use, along with a large /|\ mark indicating government ownership:I have struggled to find out exactly why this type of dressing was called a ‘mine’ dressing. I suspect it was first developed to deal with accidents in coal mines, but I have found out nothing definite. In form though a mine dressing is much like a shell or first field dressing, consisting of a sterile absorbent pad attached to a bandage that allows it to be drawn tight against a wound. A tape is provided at the rear of the dressing to allow the paper packet to be ripped open in an emergency:The following instructions come from a RAMC training pamphlet and are about changing dressings in a hospital- in the field things were seldom this clean and organised, but the general principles would remain the same:
The assistant opens the dressing package, or, if large drums are used, places the necessary dressing material in a sterile dish.
Using two pairs of forceps, the dresser cleans the skin around the wound; he then performs the necessary toilet (removal of stitches, drains or packing and irrigation), and covers the wound with a sterile dressing. Great care must be taken to fix the dressing so it cannot slip.
All sterile material needed by the dresser is passed to him by the assistant with the forceps (Cheatle forceps) which never touch anything that is not sterile. Particular care must be taken that the forceps of the dresser never touch those of the assistant.
The dresser then discards his forceps for re-sterilisation and applies the outer dressings and bandages.
Details of procedure will vary in different hospitals, and on active service in the field modification may be inevitable. But it is important that everyone concerned in the dressing of wounds should understand the general principle.
This type of dressing was certainly issued in ARP first aid kits and it is possible it was for military use as well although any information on this type of dressing seems to be sadly limited. Unfortunately this example is rather battered, but it will suffice until I can find a nicer example for my collection.