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Part 35

Those cases in which the bone of the thigh, or of the arm, protrudes, do not easily recover. For the bones are large, and contain much marrow; and many important nerves, muscles, and veins are wounded at the same time. And if you reduce them, convulsions usually supervene; and, if not reduced, acute bilious fevers come on, with singultus and mortification. The chances of recovery are not fewer in those cases in which the parts have not been reduced, nor any attempts made at reduction. Still more recover in those cases in which the lower, than those in which the upper part of the bone protrudes; and some will recover when reduction has been made, but very rarely indeed. For modes of treatment and peculiarity of constitution make a great difference as to the capability of enduring such an injury. And it makes a great difference if the bones of the arm and of the thigh protrude to the inside; for there are many and important vessels situated there, some of which, if wounded, will prove fatal; there are such also on the outside, but of less im-[p. 203]portance. In wounds of this sort, then, one ought not to be ignorant of the dangers, and should prognosticate them in due time. But if you are compelled to have recourse to reduction, and hope to succeed, and if the bones do not cross one another much, and if the muscles are not contracted (for they usually are contracted), the lever in such cases may be advantageously employed.

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