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Part 19

When a person has sustained a mortal wound on the head, which cannot be cured, nor his life preserved, you may form an opinion of his approaching dissolution, and foretell what is to happen from the following symptoms which such a person experiences. When a bone is broken, or cleft, or contused, or otherwise injured, and when by mistake it has not been discovered, and neither the raspatory nor trepan has been applied as required, but the case has been neglected as if the bone were sound, fever will generally come on if in winter, and in summer the fever usually seizes after seven days. And when this happens, the wound loses its color, and the inflammation dies in it; and it becomes glutinous, and appears like a pickle, being of a tawny and somewhat livid color; and the bone then begins to sphacelate, and turns black where it was white before, and at last becomes pale and blanched. But when suppuration is fairly established in it, small blisters form on the tongue and he dies delirious. And, for the most part, [p. 158]convulsions seize the other side of the body; for, if the wound be situated on the left side, the convulsions will seize the right side of the body; or if the wound be on the right side of the head, the convulsion attacks the left side of the body. And some become apoplectic. And thus they die before the end of seven days, if in summer; and before fourteen, if in winter. And these symptoms indicate, in the same manner, whether the wound be older or more recent. But if you perceive that fever is coming on, and that any of these symptoms accompany it, you must not put off, but having sawed the bone to the membrane (meninx), or scraped it with a raspatory (and it is then easily sawed or scraped), you must apply the other treatment as may seem proper, attention being paid to circumstances.

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