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Just about every schoolchild learns that Napoleon Bonaparte was a small man. But few know that he cast as large a shadow over the history of medicine as over the nature of warfare. That’s because his surgeon-in-chief in the Napoleonic Wars, Dominique Jean Larrey, transformed how wounded soldiers are cared for.

His innovation — triage — is still used today in battlefield medicine and responses to public health crises. Yet it needs to be reimagined in how it is being applied to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

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