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Gun-shot wounds

--An Interesting Lecture.--A lecture on gun-shot wounds was delivered in the New York Medical College on Tuesday by Prof. Raphael:

‘ In the course of the lecture the professor remarked that there were more men killed and wounded, in proportion to the numbers engaged in battles at the present time, than in olden times. The fact was exemplified in the Crimean and Italian wars, and in our present troubles; and it was owing to the improved projectiles and weapons used now, particularly the Minnie and Enfield rifles and bullets. Wounds produced by bullets were of the kind called lacerated and contused, and were greatly modified by the seat of the injury and the state of health of the person wounded.--There were also what are called indirect wounds, made by spent balls, produced by splinters, or by the ricochet of the old fashioned round cannon ball, throwing up stones or earth which gave almost as serious injuries as would a ball of the same size as the stone thrown up. The latter was altogether avoided in the rifled projectiles which did not ricochet. Instances had been known where men had been killed by the mere passage of the ball, which was generally called "windage." Instances of this kind were, however, extremely rare. There were cases on record where serious wounds had been received by a soldier attempting to stop a spent cannon ball rolling very slowly, with his foot. The ball rebounded and shattered his leg.

A wound resembling a bullet wound might be produced by a discharge of small shot from an ordinary shot-gun, when fired close to the person, the small shot not separating, but entering the wound en masse. Wounds were aggravated by the entrance of extraneous substances, such as pieces of clothing, coins, etc. Surgeons should be careful in examining the clothing around the wound after extracting the bullet; which should in all cases be done, except when the injury caused by the extraction of the ball would be greater than were it allowed to remain in the wound. A great difference existed between the round and conical projectile in the disposition of the ball when in the body. The round ball on entering a wound would be deflected from its course should it strike a bone, and instances were common where the ball had made a complete circuit, even where it has come out of the same wound it made on entering. The conical ball, however, passed directly through whatever part of the body it happened to strike, shattering everything in its passage. Another peculiarity of the conical ball was, that when it struck a bone it split it downwards, and very rarely affected the part above the wound.

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