Kill or cure?
Of the 52 privates in the 13th Light Dragoons wounded by sabre, gunfire and cannon injuries at Waterloo, only two subsequently died.
Professor Singer said: "Despite the non-existence of antibiotics, blood transfusions, life-support machines and other paraphernalia of modern intensive care, most of these soldiers recovered, often from life-threatening injuries.
"Yet with all our technical advances in medicine, mortality rates from conditions such as sepsis (bacterial infection of the bloodstream) haven't improved dramatically over the past century.
Could it be our interventions hinder the body's strategies to heal itself?