Title: B——, John

Source text: Surgeon General Joseph K. Barnes, United States Army, The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion. (1861–65.), Part 1, Volume 2 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1870), 426.

Keywords:wounds and injuries of the spineincised wounds, contusions, and miscellaneous injuriescontusions and miscellaneous injuriesfracture by falling of treescomplete paraplegiaspinal cord severely laceratedautopsy performedstruck across dorsal and lumbar vertebrae by falling limbfirst lumbar vertebra transversely fractured entirely body

Civil War Washington ID: med.d1e18582

TEI/XML: med.d1e18582.xml

CASE.—Corporal John B——, Co. C, 10th New York Volunteers, of good constitution and physical condition, while felling trees at Hatcher's Run, Virginia, March 11th, 1863, was struck across the dorsal and lumbar vertebræ by a falling limb, which had been severed by a shell. Being knocked senseless, he remained in this condition for an hour or more, until awakened by the motion of the ambulance that conveyed him to regimental headquarters. On returning to consciousness, he was unable to move the lower portion of his body. Arriving at Patrick's Station, he was cupped, and mustard applied to the calves of the legs and to the spinal region. He complained of pain in the lower portion of the body. He was blistered, and the blisters dressed with lint. He was sent to City Point, and finally, to Washington, where he entered Finley Hospital on the 19th. When admitted, he was in a semi-comatose condition; complete paraplegia; sensation perfect. There was some febrile action, and very severe diarrhœa. He passed his urine and fæces involuntarily; appetite very good; pulse full and bounding; emaciation slight. The temperature of the right leg was slightly higher than that of the left, but both were very cold; skin moist. The blistered parts on each leg were suppurating slightly. The parts in the region of the sacrum were in a gangrenous condition. Opiates were given at night and chlorides used to cleanse the gangrenous wounds over the sacrum. Under the administration of astringents the diarrhœa ceased by the 25th. The patient, however, continued to sink, and died on March 29th, 1865. At the autopsy, the first lumbar vertebra was found transversely fractured entirely through its body at its upper third, with each pedicle broken and the left transverse and spinous processes encroaching upon the cord, which was lacerated at the lumbar and dorsal junction. The membranes were torn entirely across, except a few fibres anteriorly and posteriorly, and were congested above and below the seat of injury. Clots of diffused blood were found near the fracture. The lower portion of the cord, severely lacerated, was drawn up into a bundle at the seat of injury, entirely deprived of the membranes. The pathological specimens are Nos. 149 and 150, Section I, A. M. M., and were contributed, with a history of the case, by Acting Assistant Surgeon W. Dusenbury.