-When an accident has resulted in the breaking of a bone, it will be necessary to consult a medical man if possible. But when no medical aid is at hand, it is well to know the best thing to be done. The bones most liable to fracture are the long bones of the limbs, the ribs, and the skull. Fracture of the skull can only be dealt with by skilled persons. Until skilled help can be obtained, the patient must be kept perfectly quiet, and the wound, if there is one, kept clean. When a long bone of a limb is broken, there are two things to be done: first, to bring the broken ends of the bone property together (or, in other words, to get the limb into its natural position and shape), and, secondly, to keep it there until the bones are strongly united. If, as sometimes happens, there is no displacement of the broken ends of the bones, the second indication is all that remains to fulfil. When there is displacement of the broken ends, strong traction must be made at the two extremities of the limb to overcome the action of the muscles, until the broken ends, which generally slip beside one another, are brought to a level; then, by a little manipulation, they can be brought together, the traction being kept up until this is effected. This done there remains to put on the splints, which are really temporary external bones applied to do the duty of the internal bone until it is able to do it itself. Splints may be made of wood or any firm material that may be at hand. They should be carefully padded to the shape of the limb, and should not press unduly on any bony prominence. They may be fixed, in the first instance, by strips of adhesive plaster, and over this a roller bandage. If the fracture is what is called “compound” (i.e., if there is an external wound as well), an opening must be left to allow of the wound being dressed without removing the splints. Many fractures are firmly united in from four to six weeks. The only kind of fracture that can be more particularly death with here is fracture of a rib. The ribs on each side of the broken one act in a measure as splints, but additional support can be given by strapping the side of the chest affected with long and broad strips of adhesive plaster. They should be fixed firmly near the spinal column, and brought round in a forward and upward direction. The lower ones should be placed on the chest first, and should be made to come a few inches below the break, gradually approaching the spot; the upper ones should cover the spot where the break is, and a little space above. Over the strapping a broad flannel roller may be placed to give further support. The patient must be at rest, lying down, and encouraged to breathe with the diaphragm and abdominal muscles (abdominal breathing as it is called). A light dietary is necessary in cases of fracture when the patient is unable to take exercise.
Medicines.- (Every hour or two.)
-Immediately after the accident, if the patient is weak or faint.
-After Aconite, or at first if there is no faintness or symptom of collapse. Much bruising.
-If the pain is unbearable, and nervous symptoms supervene.
-After Chamomilla, if that does not suffice. In cases where nervous tissues are much involved.
Calcarea phos. 6.
-If the bone fails to unite.