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OLD-AID
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Our Department of Antique Advice:

I have a strong enjoyment of history, and also feel that we often fail to realize how far we have come or how close we still are to those who have gone before us. In the manner of youth, we often feel that we are the only true moderns, and that our nouveau thoughts and creations set us apart from the generations past. There is a special piquancy to savor in some of these first-aid recommendations from the past.

 

LIFTING A WOUNDED MAN OFF HIS HORSE: Before the casualty is lifted off, spurs must always be removed, whatever the nature of the injury; and if the horse is restive the fore leg with the knee bent should be held up. Bearers Nos. 2, 3, and 4, in the case of an injured lower limb, place themselves on the affected side; in the case of an injured upper limb the bearers approach on the sound side. In the case of a wounded lower limb, on the command "Lay Hold" (given by No. 1), No. 2 bearer from behind catches hold of the pelvis and sound side; No. 3 bearer is held round the neck and the shoulders by the wounded man; No. 4 bearer holds the wounded leg; on the words "Ready, Lift Off", the patient is taken off and held over the stretcher placed alongside, and on the command "Lower" is laid on it. In the case of a wounded upper limb, No. 2 bearer supports the pelvis and legs, No. 3 bearer is held round the neck by the
patient's sound arm, No. 4 bearer holds the wounded arm. On the command "Ready---Lift Off", the bearers lift off and hold the patient over the stretcher placed alongside. If four bearers are available, one should hold the horse's head.

Warwick and Tunstall's First Aid To The Injured And Sick, An Advanced Ambulance Handbook
edited by A. P. Gorham, M.B., Ch.B., M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., D.A.,
Officer of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem; Chairman, St. John Association, Bristol Centre;
Late Corps Surgeon, St. John Ambulance Brigade; Police Surgeon, City and County of Bristol;
Medical Officer, Bristol Fire Brigade; Teacher in First Aid, University of Bristol
Bristol: John Wright & Sons Ltd. London: Simpkin Marshall Ltd. 1952 Nineteenth Edition 261st Thousand

 

[Description of Open chest cardiac massage from a British medical text]: "As one incises the skin and chest wall with the scalpel . . . "Absence of hemorrhage confirms the diagnosis of cardiac arrest." {Editor's Note: True, but this is a fine time to make this distinction!}

 

CLOQUET'S NEEDLE TEST: A clean needle is plunged into the biceps muscle; if life is not extinct, the needle oxidizes in 20-60 minutes.
Dorland's illustrated medical dictionary, 27th ed.Philadelphia; W.B. Saunders Co., 1988, p1521

 

RATTLESNAKE BITE: {In the Handbook For Boys, first aid instructions by Major Charles Lynch of the American National Red Cross, 1926 edition, it was recommended to cauterize the wound as found particularly efficacious by hunters, to remove the bullet from a cartridge, pour the gunpowder into the wound, and set it alight.}

 

CLEANING GREASE FROM WOUNDS: {In the Handbook For Boys, first aid instructions by Major Charles Lynch of the American National Red Cross, 1926 edition, it was recommended that if the wound was contaminated by oil or grease to "go across the street and milk a Ford" [i.e., siphon gasoline to use as a solvent to remove the grease].}

 

REMOVING A STINGER FROM THE WOUND: ". . . The injury should be treated immediately. The sting should be removed by pressing on it with a hollow ring such as the tube of a watch key. Swab the part freely with dilute ammonia, rub on raw onion, or apply a paste of washing soda and sal volatile. If these are not available, a small dab of washing soda moistened, or the blue bag, will allay the pain."

Warwick and Tunstall's First Aid To The Injured And Sick, An Advanced Ambulance Handbook
edited by A. P. Gorham, M.B., Ch.B., M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., D.A.,
Officer of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem; Chairman, St. John Association, Bristol Centre;
Late Corps Surgeon, St. John Ambulance Brigade; Police Surgeon, City and County of Bristol;
Medical Officer, Bristol Fire Brigade; Teacher in First Aid, University of Bristol
Bristol: John Wright & Sons Ltd. London: Simpkin Marshall Ltd. 1952 Nineteenth Edition 261st Thousand

 

BITES BY RABID ANIMALS: Dogs, foxes, etc., can suffer from a disease called rabies, which is rare in England largely because of our animal quarantine regulations. If a man is bitten by a rabid animal, he may develop rabies, also called Hydrophobia, which until a sure cure was discovered by Pasteur was very serious and often fatal. The symptoms of hydrophobia do not develop for about a month after the bite. They include great giddiness, extreme prostration, and difficulty in swallowing and breathing which increase progressively. In the case of a bite by an animal suspected of being rabid, it is of great importance that the part bitten should bleed freely so as to wash out the wound from within. The poisons travel from the bitten part along the nerves themselves, to enter the spinal cord and brain; they do not travel by the blood-stream. A constriction should be placed round the limb with the object of causing the limb to swell with blood. The constriction hence should occlude the veins, but it is important that it should not occlude the arteries. If this occurs it will be shown by the limb getting white and cold, and by the bleeding ceasing. The part should, of course , be kept low. The wound should be bathed with warm water or a warm solution of permanganate of potash, to a pale pink colour. Alcohol should be given to the casualty (for an adult 2 tablespoonfuls, for a child 2 teaspoonfuls, in a wine glass of water), or hot black coffee, or both. Cauterize the wound with carbolic acid, or nitric acid, using a match-stick cut to a point to get the acid into all the small crevices of the wound. A "lunar caustic stick" (silver nitrate) may be used if carbolic or nitric acid is not available.

Warwick and Tunstall's First Aid To The Injured And Sick, An Advanced Ambulance Handbook
edited by A. P. Gorham, M.B., Ch.B., M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., D.A.,
Officer of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem; Chairman, St. John Association, Bristol Centre;
Late Corps Surgeon, St. John Ambulance Brigade; Police Surgeon, City and County of Bristol;
Medical Officer, Bristol Fire Brigade; Teacher in First Aid, University of Bristol
Bristol: John Wright & Sons Ltd. London: Simpkin Marshall Ltd. 1952 Nineteenth Edition 261st Thousand

 

SHIPBOARD SUPRAPUBIC CYSTOTOMY: A medical guide for ships without doctors recommended that in cases of urinary retention which could not be relieved by a catheter the Captain should cleanse the skin in the midline at the level of the pubic hair and insert the 18gauge 3" intracardiac needle into the bladder and stand back.

 

STOPPING A RUNAWAY HORSE: The method for checking a horse running away is not to run out and wave your arm in front of him, as this will only cause him to dodge to one side and to run faster, but to try to run alongside the vehicle with one hand on the shaft to prevent yourself from falling, seizing the reins with the other hand and dragging the horse's head toward you. If when he has somewhat slowed down by this method, you can turn him toward a house or wall he will probably stop.

Handbook For Boys, copyright 1911, Boy Scouts of America

 

MAD DOG: The first thing to do is to kill the mad dog at once. Wrap a handkerchief around the hand to prevent the dog's teeth from entering the flesh and grasp a club of some kind. If you can stop the dog with a stick you should hit him hard over the head with it, or kick him under the jaw. A handkerchief held in front of you in your outstretched hands will generally cause the dog to stop to paw it before he attempts to bite you. This will give you an opportunity to kick him under the lower jaw.

Handbook For Boys, copyright 1911, Boy Scouts of America

 

SPLINT MATERIALS: ". . . Often in the military service splints must be extemporized; one of the most useful and most accessible materials for preparing them is telegraph wire; the method of using it is illustrated in the figures (Fig. 61). On the battlefield the various weapons may be employed: rifles, bayonets, swords, scabbards (Fig. 62), and tent pins; splints may also be prepared from blankets and straw, from hay, small sticks, the bark of trees, barrel staves, broom handles, canes and umbrellas."

A Complete Handbook for the Sanitary Troops of the U.S. Army and Navy and National Guard and Naval Militia
by Charles Field Mason, Colonel Medical Corps, U.S. Army Fourth Edition, Revised,
Approved by the Surgeon-Generals of the Army and Navy, Profusely Illustrated,
New York, William Wood And Company, MDCCCCXVIII, 1917

 

FOREIGN BODIES: "In the nose: Children push peas and such things into the nose, and occasionally flies deposit their eggs there with the result that maggots develop in the nasal cavity. Foreign bodies are best removed by closing the free nostril with the finger and forcibly blowing through the obstructed side; snuffing up a little powdered tobacco or pepper will cause sneezing and aid in the expulsion; if this does not succeed and the body can be seen it may be hooked out with the bent hairpin in the same manner as described for the ear; or finally a small, smooth stick or a slender pencil may be wrapped with a little cotton and used to push the foreign body gently back through the posterior nares into the mouth; press straight backward, never upward. Maggots in the nose is a very serious condition which may result in death. Let the patient inhale through the nose a half-teaspoonful of chloroform, and while the maggots are stupefied syringe them out with warm normal saline solution."

A Complete Handbook for the Sanitary Troops of the U.S. Army and Navy and National Guard and Naval Militia
by Charles Field Mason, Colonel Medical Corps, U.S. Army Fourth Edition, Revised,
Approved by the Surgeon-Generals of the Army and Navy, Profusely Illustrated,
New York, William Wood And Company, MDCCCCXVIII, 1917

 

BLEEDING: " . . . Do not be alarmed by the amount of blood that flows from the patient. It used to be common thing for a barber to bleed a man to the extent of five or six cupfuls of blood."

Baden-Powell's Scouting for Boys; Boy's Edition
by Lord Baden-Powell,
London, C. Arthur Pearson Ltd.,
Tower House, Southampton Street, Strand, W.C. 2,
1932, Revised Edition 1961

 


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