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[253] the wound probed by instruments which were never sterilized and usually remained continuing sources of infection. The wound was usually protected by dressings of lint, the scrapings of which from cotton cloth by hand rendered its infection certain. Cloth or cotton compresses dipped in cold water were often used as dressings. Some surgeons used ointments spread on muslin. Flaxseed or bread poultices were often employed. In fact nearly every measure taken for the relief of the wounded was, through the irony of Fate and ignorance of infection, largely contributory in increasing the very suffering it was desired to prevent.

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