Chirurgeons are the first-aid arm of the Society for Creative Anachronism. We are a group of volunteers who provide first-aid at SCA activities, such as tournaments, feasts, and camping events. Our membership includes real world first-aiders, nurses, physicians, and Emergency Medical Technicians of all levels. Together, we make up the Chirurgeonate, or The Chirurgeon's Guild.
What, you may ask, is a Chirurgeon? The word Chirurgeon comes from the old french word cirurgien, which is drawn from the Latin word chrurgia, or surgery. It is the word from which the modern english word Surgeon is drawn.
In the early days of the Society, someone usually kept a first-aid kit around for the occasional injury. Over the years the Society has grown and the need for organized first aid has grown with it. There are several events each year which draw more than a thousand participants for up to two weeks at a time. The main thrust of Chirurgery has become organizational in an effort to coordinate the Chirurgeons at an event along with the supplies they will need and coordination with the other functionaries (marshals, autocrats, heralds, and water-bearers) they will be working with.
Although the Chirurgeonate is an SCA office, much of our organization and terminology is modeled after a guild. Many years ago, Chirurgeons used the same organizational framework as other offices, i.e., Chirurgeons were local, Principality, and Kingdom officers. Since Chirurgeons were the only officers, however, who were required to hold a non-SCA credential, such as first-aid certification or medical license, as a condition of holding the office, there was confusion at the local level about who would issue, deny, or revoke a Chirurgeon's warrant. There were also jurisdictional disputes regarding who would be the Chirurgeon-in-Charge at local events. The development of the guild structure was an attempt to address some of these difficulties.
You can recognize a Chirurgeon by the badge they wear when on duty. It is a red circle with a white teardrop containing a fleam (the "upside down 2"). The fleam was used in the middle ages to cut a patient and allow bad blood to escape.