Title: Reardon, John F.
Source text: The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion. (1861-65.), Part 2, Volume 2 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1876), 552.
Civil War Washington ID: med.d2e31156
CASE 1529.—Private John F. Reardon, Co. C, 6th New York Cavalry, aged 22 years, was wounded at Culpeper, October 11, 1863, and entered Armory Square Hospital on the following day. Surgeon D. W. Bliss, U. S. V., found that his right humerus was shattered by a fragment of shell, which was removed from its lodgement under the deltoid muscle. It was four inches long, one inch broad, and weighed nine ounces. Surgeon Bliss excised the head and six inches of the shaft of the humerus through a straight incision on the outside of the limb. During the after-treatment the elbow was well supported. The patient recovered without a bad symptom, and with a remarkably useful limb. In March, 1866, Reardon was re-enlisted in the general service, and was assigned to duty as an orderly in the Army Medical Museum. From that date until the present (March, 1875) he has served continuously, suffering very little inconvenience from the mutilation he has undergone. Without difficulty he can place his right hand on the top of his head; he can lift a weight of two hundred pounds or more with the injured limb without pain. The movements of the forearm and hand are not in the least impaired, and there is great freedom of all the movements of the arm except abduction. The muscular development of the arm equals that of its fellow. No apparatus is requisite, and altogether the result is most satisfactory and successful. The case effectually disproves the dictum of the older military surgeons on the inutility of excisions of the humerus in cases in which it may be necessary to saw the shaft, below, the insertion of the deltoid. Reardon was pensioned. Examiner J. O. Staunton reported, December 9, 1873: "There is about three inches shortening of the arm; some atrophy of the muscles; a large cicatrix. He has some use of the hand when the elbow is supported: but the limb is useless for purposes of manual labor." The appearance of the excised portion of bone, presented to the Museum by Surgeon D. W. Bliss, is represented in the wood-cut (FIG. 428). The appearance of the limb is shown in FIG. 3 of PLATE XIV.¹
¹ An account of this case was published in the preliminary Surgical Report of Circular 6, S. G. O., 1865, p. 56, with an illustration which has been frequently reproduced, e. g. in BILROTH und VON PITHA (Handbuch); FRANKLIN (E. C.) (The Science and Art of Surgery, 1867, Vol. I, p. 710); HAMILTON (F. H.) (Princ. and Pract. of Surg., 1872, p. 394).
FIG. 428.—Head and five and a half inches of the shaft of the humerus excised for shell fracture. Spec. 1738.