Washington University School of Medicine Oral History Project

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Treatment of lower limb fractures, Base Hospital 21, Rouen, France
Method of treating lower limb fractures at Base Hospital 21 in Rouen, France. Chief Nurse Julia C. Stimson wrote in a July 1917 letter to her family, “Our Surgical Hut looks like a carpenter shop. We have about ten beds under a wooden canopy frame, to which the poor shattered legs of our blown-to-pieces men are fastened. When a leg is broken in half a dozen places and there are several gaping infected wounds besides, it is something of a trick of carpentry and mechanics to make the poor fellows comfortable, put on extensions so the legs won’t contract, and yet make it possible to irrigate the wounds. We have some wonderful arrangements. It is remarkable the way pulleys and ropes can be arranged so that the men can pull themselves up with their hands to let the nurses rub their backs and change their beds. So many men come to us with terrific bedsores to add to the distress of their shattered legs it takes much ingenuity to take care of them.”