Title: Powers, Thomas

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), 468-469.

Keywords:wounds and injuries of the chestincised wounds, contusions, and miscellaneous injuriesbayonet woundsbayonet entered next to middle of xiphoid cartilagebayonet wounded diaphragm and liverstabbed by refractory prisonerdisability totaltraumatic pleurisy

Civil War Washington ID: med.d1e19077

TEI/XML: med.d1e19077.xml

CASE. Corporal Thomas Powers, Co. G, 2d United States Infantry, aged 40 years, was stabbed by a bayonet in the hands of a refractory prisoner on December 2d, 1862. The bayonet entered one-half inch to the right of the median line of the chest, immediately next to the middle of the xiphoid cartilage, penetrated four inches in a direction downward and outward, entering the chest over the costal cartilages of the eighth, ninth, and tenth ribs. On receipt of the injury there was prostration, vomiting for two days, difficulty of breathing, incapacity to draw a long breath, total absence of movement of ribs of lower part of right chest, and decubitus on injured side; no respiration heard on lower part of right chest; puerile respiration above and over the whole of the left chest, mixed, however, in some parts of the left chest, with mucous sounds of bronchitis. Gentle stimulants and essence of beef were given. On December 5th, the vomiting had ceased. He was transferred to Stanton Hospital, Washington, on December 11th; at that time, the wound was closed and the orifice of it covered over by a small, dark-colored, triangular-shaped scab. He complained much of darting pains and stitches in the right side. He exhibited dyspnœa and increased frequency of the respiratory movements. At times, the dyspnœa was so great as to compel him to sit up in bed. There was a moderate amount of effusion in cavity of right pleura, with friction sounds higher up on the same side. He was directed to keep quiet in bed, to be supported by a nourishing diet, to take fluid extract of cinchona, combined with iodide of potassium, and, with a view to still further promote absorption and combat the traumatic pleurisy, to have a succession of blisters applied to his right chest. About Christmas, he had a severe exacerbation of all his symptoms, which was combated by the application of wet and dry cups. A fresh pleurisy was lighted up in the early part of January, 1863, which was treated in the same way. Under the tonic and supporting plan of treatment, he mended slowly in spite of the relapses, and by January 25th, was able to sit up most of the time. He was discharged from service, at his own request, on February 2d, 1863. He was still very feeble and wan, had dyspnœa, and percussion showed that the pleuritic effusion, although diminished in quantity, still remained, but the dyspnœa appeared to be much greater than could be accounted for satisfactorily by the amount of the effusion. Examining Surgeon Frank S. Porter reports, October 30th, 1867: The bayonet entered the chest on the median line, at the lower end of the sternum, and, ranging downward and backward, wounded the diaphragm and liver. The result is enlargement of the left lobe of the liver, severe cough, bloody purulent expectoration, hæmorrhage of the bowels, with great emaciation. Disability total.