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Part 26

As a general rule it may be said, that in those cases in which a separation of bone is not expected, the same treatment should be applied as when the fractures are not complicated with an external wound; for the extension, adjustment of the bones, and the bandaging, are to be conducted in the same manner. To the wound itself a cerate mixed with pitch is to be applied, a thin folded compress is to be bound upon it, and the parts around are to be anointed with white cerate. The cloths for bandages and the other things should be torn broader than in cases in which there is no wound, and the first turn of the bandage should be a good deal broader than the wound. For a narrower bandage than the wound binds the wound like a girdle, which is not proper, or the first turn should comprehend the whole wound, and the bandaging should extend beyond it on both sides. The bandage then should be put on in the direction of the wound, and should be not quite so tight as when there is no wound, but the bandage should be otherwise applied in the manner described above. The bandages should be of a soft consistence, and more especially so in such cases than in those not complicated with a wound. The number of bandages should not[p. 194] be smaller, but rather greater than those formerly described. When applied, the patient should have the feeling of the parts being properly secured, but not too tight, and in particular he should be able to say that they are firm about the wound. And the intervals of time during which the parts seem to be properly adjusted, and those in which they get loose, should be the same as those formerly described. The bandages should be renewed on the third day, and the after treatment conducted in the same manner as formerly described, except that in the latter case the compression should be somewhat less than in the former. And if matters go on properly, the parts about the wound should be found at every dressing always more and more free of swelling, and the swelling should have subsided on the whole part comprehended by the bandages. And the suppurations will take place more speedily than in the case of wounds treated otherwise; and the pieces of flesh in the wound which have become black and dead, will sooner separate and fall off under this plan of treatment than any other, and the sore will come more quickly to cicatrization when thus treated than otherwise. The reason of all this is, that the parts in which the wound is situated, and the surrounding parts, are kept free of swelling. In all other respects the treatment is to be conducted as in cases of fracture without a wound of the integuments. Splints should not be applied. On this account the bandages should be more numerous than in the former case, both because they must be put on less tight, and because the splints are later of being applied. But if you do apply the splints, they should not be applied along the wound, and they are to be put on in a loose manner, especial care being taken that there may be no great compression from the splints. This direction has been formerly given. And the diet should be more restricted, and for a longer period, in those cases in which there is a wound at the commencement, and when the bones protrude through the skin; and, in a word, the greater the wound, the more severe and protracted should the regimen be.

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