Page:Wound infections and some new methods for the study of the various factors which come into consideration in their treatment.djvu/30

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16

WOUND INFECTIONS

fluid in the cavity of the leech with the fluid in the wound outside.

When, after washing out a heavily infected wound with an antiseptic or simple saline solution, we apply a lymph leech to the walls, and then at the next dressing compare the contents of the lymph leech with the fluid outside, we think at first that there must be some mistake. Outside we have an opaque exudate presenting all the ordinary physical characters of pus containing leucocytes in all stages of degeneration, and swarming with all manner of pyogenic organisms (fig. 7, A). Inside we have a transparent and slightly blood-stained exudate containing streptococci in practically pure culture, and in addition a few leucocytes, all of which are actively phagocytic (fig. 7, B). Except in this latter respect, we have, in fact, identically the same result as when we made our thin implantations of pus into normal serum.

The problem now stares us in the face—What is it that makes all this difference between the contents of the lymph leech and the contents of the wound? How has the lymph, which gives in the cavity of the lymph leech only a culture of streptococcus, been converted in the wound outside into a fluid which is ideally favourable to the growth of a great number of different species of microorganisms?