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15 Passing to the humerus, it is sometimes put out into the armpit, sometimes forwards. If it is dislocated into the armpit, the elbow stands out from the side; again, this elbow, together with the upper arm, cannot be raised to the level of the ear on the same side, and that forearm is longer than the other. But if forwards, the upper forearm can be stretched out, but not to its full extent; and it is more difficult to stretch out the elbow forwards than backwards.

So if the upper bone has slipped out into the armpit and the patient is still young or supple, at any rate if the sinews are not very powerful, it is sufficient to have him held on a stool; one of the two assistants is directed to press gently upon the head of the blade-bone, while the other stretches the forearm; then the surgeon seated behind thrusts one hand into the point's armpit, presses the bone up with this hand, and with the other presses the elbow to the side. But for a more powerful patient, with stronger sinews, a wooden board is required, two fingers thick, and lon enough to reach from the armpit to the fingers; the upper end is rounded and slightly hollowed to admit a small part of the head of the humerus. In three places in this, with a space between, are two slots through which soft straps are passed. And this board, covered with bandage to avoid injury by contact, is so applied from the forearm to the armpit, that its upper end is put under the armpit: it is then tied to the limb by its[p. 571] straps, one just below the head of the humerus, the second a little above the elbow, the third short of the wrist, to which purpose the two spaces between the six holes are adapted. The limb so fixed is passed over a rung of a poultry ladder at such a height that the patient himself cannot stand firmly; and whilst his body is allowed to sink down to one side, the limb is stretched on the other side; and thus it comes about that the top of the humerus is forced upwards into place by the top of the board, sometimes with, sometimes without a sound. It is easy to learn that there are many other methods by reading Hippocrates alone, but no other has met with more approval in practice.

But if the humerus is put out forwards, the man is laid on his back and a bandage or a leather strap passed under his armpit, the ends of which are handed to one assistant behind the man's head and his forearm to another assistant; and it must be arranged that the former pulls the strap, the latter the forearm. Then the surgeon should thrust back the man's head with his left hand, whilst with his right he raises the elbow together with the upper arm and forces the bone back into place; and reduction is easier in this case than in the previous one.

When the bone has been replaced, the armpit is filled with wool; if the bone had moved backwards, to prevent it from slipping back; if forwards, to make the bandaging more effective. Then the bandage must first pass under the armpit and control the head of the bone, then stretch across the chest under the opposite armpit, next over the shoulder-blades and again back to the head of the same arm-bone,[p. 573] and it is to be carried round several times in the same way until bone is well held. The bone when bandaged in this way is held in place more comfortably if it is also bandaged close to the side.

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load focus Introduction (Charles Victor Daremberg, 1891)
load focus Latin (W. G. Spencer, 1971)
load focus Latin (Friedrich Marx, 1915)
load focus Latin (Charles Victor Daremberg, 1891)
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