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Part 31

Moreover, the greater part of physicians treat fractures, both with and without an external wound, during the first days, by means of unwashed wool, and there does not appear to be anything improper in this. It is very excusable for those who are called upon to treat newly-received accidents of this kind, and who have no cloth for bandages at hand, to do them up [p. 199]with wool; for, except cloth for bandages, one could not have anything better than wool in such cases; but a good deal should be used for this purpose, and it should be well carded and not rough, for in small quantity and of a bad quality it has little power. But those who approve of binding up the limb with wool for a day or two, and on the third and fourth apply bandages, and make the greatest compression and extension at that period, such persons show themselves to be ignorant of the most important principles of medicine; for, in a word, at no time is it so little proper to disturb all kinds of wounds as on the third and fourth day; and all sort of probing should be avoided on these days in whatever other injuries are attended with irritation. For, generally, the third and fourth day in most cases of wounds, are those which give rise to exacerbations, whether the tendency be to inflammation, to a foul condition of the sore, or to fevers. And if any piece of information be particularly valuable this is; to which of the most important cases in medicine does it not apply? and that not only in wounds but in many other diseases, unless one should call all other diseases wounds. And this doctrine is not devoid of a certain degree of plausibility, for they are allied to one another in many respects. But those who maintain that wool should be used until after the first seven days, and then that the parts should be extended and adjusted, and secured with bandages, would appear not to be equally devoid of proper judgment, for the proper judgment, for the most dangerous season for inflammation is then past, and the bones being loose can be easily set after the lapse of these days. But still this mode of treatment is far inferior to that with bandages from the commencement; for, the latter method exhibits the patient on the seventh day free from inflammation, and ready for complete bandaging with splints; while the former method is far behind in this respect, and is attended with many other bad effects which it would be tedious to describe.

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