Specimen 8

Civil war specimen

Humerus. The shaft consists almost entirely of sequestrum (FIG. 1), which is in the process of separation. An involucrum is absent on the anterior surface and only partially present posteriorly.

FIG. 1

The fracture occurred following an accident at Weldon Railroad on August 25, 1864. The patient was admitted to the hospital on August 28 and died January 31, 1865 of sepsis.

Excerpt from The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion

Private H. S. P., Co. D, 1st Delaware, aged 26 years, was wounded at the Weldon Railroad, August 25, 1864, and was sent to Washington, entering Lincoln Hospital August 28th. Assistant Surgeon J. C. McKee, U.S.A., reported: "Shot fracture of the left humerus, lower third, severe. Excision on the field."

FIG. 507

Acting Assistant Surgeon A. N. Sherman reported: "Gunshot fracture of left humerus. When the patient was admitted to Ward 14, about January 1st, he was much emaciated, with very irritable stomach. The discharge from the wound was of a dark sanious color, indicating extensive necrosis of bone; his general health would not admit of an operation. Pyaemia appeared to develope itself about fifteen days previous to death, which occured January 31, 1865."

Acting Assistant Surgeon H. M. Dean contributed the specimen (FIG. 507), and reported: "Post-mortem January 31, 1865, at 10 A.M.: Body very much emaciated; skin of a sallow color; height five feet five and a half inches; rigor mortis not very well marked; oesophagus, larynx, and trachea healthy; both lungs appeared normal; pericardium normal; heart contained a clot--very pale, otherwise appeared normal; liver very fatty; spleen appeared normal; both kidneys very pale; lining membrane of intestine very pale; right lung weighed nine ounces; left nine and a half ounces; spleen six ounces; heart nine ounces; right kidney six ounces, left six and a half ounces; liver eighty-eight ounces. The left humerus was found to be badly communited and necrosed in its middle third, and the tissues surrounding it were of a black color."

The specimen, of which a wood-cut (FIG. 507) is annexed, consits of "the left humerus six months after fracture in the lower third. The entire shaft of the bone is occupied by a sequestrum. That in the lower fragment is heavy and nearly detached. The involucrum is wanting on the anterior surface, where it appears to have been absorbed after deposit. The new deposit on the upper fragment is irregular and sparse."

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