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Brown Paul W. M.D.
Techniques in Orthopaedics: October 1995
Orthopaedic Lessons from Recent Wars: Articles: PDF Only


Humans have never been free of war. Aside from the occasional preservation of freedom, the only benefit from war has been a knowledge of how wounds heal and how to treat them. Military war wounded are treated by structured services, generally with adequate facilities for treatment and evacuation. Not so the civilian casualty, who must often depend on volunteers working in poorly equipped hospitals. All surgeions experienced in war surgery are agreed that following life support measures, wounds must be surgically explored as early as possible, debrided of foreign material and dead tissue, and must then left open to be closed later, at a safer time. The choice of fracture stabilization—whether traction, splints, casts, or external or internal fixation—depends on the surgeon's experience and preference; the type of facility; what equipment is available; and where, how, and if the patient is to be evaluated.

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