Washington University School of Medicine Oral History Project

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Carrel-Dakin method of infected wound treatment, Base Hospital 21, Rouen, France
Compound fractures of the femur were treated by Base Hospital 21 until the spring of 1918, after which all cases were referred to another hospital in the area designated to care for such fractures. Up until that time, the unit used traction and suspension in either the Thomas or Hodgen splints, with Carrel-Dakin treatment for the wound. French Army surgeon Alexis Carrel had developed a new method for the treatment of wounds during the first years of the war. The principles of Carrel’s treatment of infected wounds were mechanical cleansing, surgical removal of foreign material and excision of devitalized tissue, and adequate chemical sterilization of the wound. Dakin’s solution (a hypochlorite solution that was both germicidal and non-irritating) was used for the chemical sterilization of the wounds.