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Part 14

When, then, you lay open a wound in the head on account of the bones having been denuded of the flesh, as wishing to ascertain whether or not the bone has received an injury from the blow, you must make an incision proportionate to the size of the wound, and as much as shall be judged necessary. And [p. 154]in making the incision you must separate the flesh from the bone where it is united to the membrane (pericranium?) and to the bone, and then fill the whole wound with a tent, which will expand the wound very wide next day with as little pain as possible; and along with the tents apply a cataplasm, consisting of a mass (maza) of fine flour pounded in vinegar, or boiled so as to render it as glutinous as possible. On the next day, when you remove the tent, having examined the bone to see what injury it has sustained, if the wound in the bone be not right seen by you, nor can you discover what mischief the bone itself has sustained, but the instrument seems to have penetrated to the bone so as to have injured it, you must scrape the bone with a raspatory to a depth and length proportionate to the suture of the patient, and again in a transverse direction, for the sake of the fractures which are not seen, and of the contusions which are not discovered, as not being accompanied with depression of the bone from its natural position. For the scraping discovers the mischief, if the injuries in the bone be not otherwise manifest. And if you perceive an indentation (hedra) left in the bone by the blow, you must scrape the dint itself and the surrounding bones, lest, as often happens, there should be a fracture and contusion, or a contusion alone, combined with the dint, and escape observation. And when you scrape the bone with the raspatory, and it appears that the wound in the bone requires the operation, you must not postpone it for three days, but do it during this period, more especially if the weather be hot, and you have had the management of the treatment from commencement. If you suspect that the bone is broken or contused, or has sustained both these injuries, having formed your judgement from the severity of the wound, and from the information of the patient, as that the person who inflicted the wound, provided it was done by another person, was remarkably strong, and that the weapon by which he was wounded was of a dangerous description, and then that the man had been seized with vertigo, dimness of vision, and stupor, and fell to the ground,- under these circumstances, if you cannot discover whether the bone be broken, contused, or both the one and the other, nor can see[p. 155] the truth of the matter, you must dissolve the jet-black ointment, and fill the wound with it when this dissolved, and apply a linen rag smeared with oil, and then a cataplasm of the maza with a bandage; and on the next day, having cleaned out the wound, scrape the bone with the raspatory. And if the bone is not sound, but fractured and contused, the rest of it which is scraped will be white; but the fracture and contusion, having imbibed the preparation, will appear black, while the rest of the bone is white. And you must again scrape more deeply the fracture where it appears black; and, if you thus remove the fissure, and cause it to disappear, you may conclude that there has been a contusion of the bone to a greater or less extent, which has occasioned the fracture that has disappeared under the raspatory; but it is less dangerous, and a matter of less consequence, when the fissure has been effaced. But if the fracture extend deep, and do not seem likely to disappear when scraped, such an accident requires trepanning. But having performed this operation, you must apply the other treatment to the wound.

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