My son works as an emergency medical technician, and he has been trained to use different types of surgical clamps.
It all depends on the situation whether he has to use them or not. Sometimes a situation can be life threatening and other times it is a precautionary measure.
The surgical instruments used in the medical field today are so much better than they were years ago. When I have been to museums and seen some of the old surgical instruments that were used, I am amazed at how many people survived the surgery.
I think the chance of infection from using tools that were not sterilized properly was probably a big risk. Even then, the surgical instruments looked pretty crude and intimidating.