Medicine: Plastered Wounds

As the remnants of the Spanish Loyalist Army, ragged and footsore, fled last year over the Pyrenees into France, over 10,000 wounded stumbled along with them. Their torn, broken arms or legs were stiffly supported in filthy, foul-smelling plaster casts. French doctors, fearing development of gas gangrene, began to amputate, left & right. Before they had done much bone-sawing, they found to their amazement that cases of gangrene were very rare. Normally, even in arm or leg wounds which had been disinfected and bandaged, they could expect more than ten cases of gangrene per 1,000. But only a score of the...

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