Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/564

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

stoutly maintained and hotly contested in the egg stage. Woe betide the incautious or over-confident experimenter who shall remove one of these fierce motherly things from her nest with his hands!—the penalty will be a succession of stabs, which produce notoriously painful wounds. But the occupant of the nearest nest will always receive and tuck under her, together with her own brood, the young of a dispossessed neighbor. All through the nursery are well-beaten paths along which the birds hop in single file with most grotesque action to and from the sea; and from the nests on either side come sharp stabs at the legs of the intruder, a deafening roar accompanying his progress the while, and an odor assaulting his nose which only those who have sailed in a guano-ship can realize. The time has now arrived when the young must be taught their first swimming-lessons, and the rudiments of that aquatic life to which their special structure confines them. From the rookery to the sea they advance, hopping with both legs together, and jump feet foremost bolt upright from a ledge into the water. Then, and only then, are they thoroughly at home, and, making use of nothing but the powerful scaly flippers, dart about with the rapidity of a fish. Frequently the old bird will rise to the surface with a young one balanced on each flipper, maintained in its precarious position by the grasp of its own tiny paddles, and no doubt vastly enjoying this introduction to life and the novel experiences to be met with under water."

 

A Unique Surgical Operation.—A surgical operation of probably unique character is described in the Lancet, by Dr. Alexander Patterson—namely, the employment of a piece of dog's bone in the treatment of ununited fracture. The patient, while at sea, sustained a simple fracture of both bones of the left forearm. The arm was at once put in splints, and so remained for some weeks. On removing the splints it was found that the bones had not united. It was not till eight months after the occurrence of the accident that the man was admitted to the Western Infirmary of Glasgow. Repeated efforts were made to induce the broken bones to reunite, but all without avail; and finally it was decided to amputate the arm. In the absence of the regular surgeon, Dr. Patterson took charge of the case, and obtained permission to make an attempt at saving the limb. The operation is best described in the author's own words:

"The patient was taken and placed under the influence of chloroform, while at the same time a retriever dog was being anæsthetized. I made an incision along the ulnar side of the arm, cutting down upon the ends of the fractured bone, and removing the fibrous band which alone formed the bond of union; the rounded points were removed by the saw, and a hole drilled obliquely through each squared end. The same process was repeated on the radial side, when it was found that an interspace of about three-quarters of an inch existed between the two fragments of the radius. In the mean time, one of the senior students had exposed the humerus of the quadruped, completely denuded of every tissue except the periosteum. The length of bone was accurately measured (three-quarters of an inch), while from half an inch beyond the end of the necessary length the periosteal covering was rapidly but carefully dissected, the bone sawed through, a hole drilled in either end obliquely, as in the radius and ulna, and at once placed between the ends of the radius, where it fitted accurately. Wires having been passed through the holes, the bones were firmly tied together, the loose half-inch margin of the periosteum of the foreign bone being carefully spread over the periosteum of the radius. The wound was stitched with silver wire, the bone sutures coming out at each end of the incision. Wires were passed through the ulna, tied together, and the wound treated in a similar manner. The entire operation was conducted under the carbolic-acid spray. The arm was put up in gauze, and held in two rectangular splints."

We need not give details of the patient's condition from day to day. Suffice it to say that one wound remained open for twelve months, and that then the dog's bone, reduced to about half its size, came away, after which the wound healed completely. The radius seemed to have fallen in somewhat toward the ulna, leaving a slight deformity. The man is by occupation a ma-