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War Surgery and Medicine



To sum up the position at the end of the war, little success was claimed in the treatment of these serious injuries. The prevention of infection was successful, especially in the latter part of the war. Infection had been largely eliminated in war wounds by early and efficient surgery and chemotherapy. Suprapubic cystotomy was the regular treatment for the paralysed bladder. Bed sores were inevitable, but were healed by plastic repair and skin grafting. The abolition of plaster jackets, especially for transport, reduced the number of bed sores, especially in the more serious cases.

The mortality was heavy and urinary complications frequent. Operation on the spinal cord was indicated only where there had been deterioration after an initial improvement in caudal lesions, and for nerve root pain, and it was best undertaken within ten days of wounding.

It is suggested that spinal injuries could be reduced by the wearing of metal shields for protection of the spine, just as the steel helmet is used for protecting the head.