May 8, 1948


Author Affiliations

Portland, Ore.

JAMA. 1948;137(2):211. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02890360093023

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To The Editor.—  I have just received from Dr. H. Earle Conwell of Birmingham, Ala., a reprint of his note to THE JOURNAL with regard to nomenclature of fractures. Dr. Conwell recommends the term "complex simple fracture" for "complicated simple fracture" and quotes Webster's definition of complex. However, he quotes only the definition of the noun, which does not apply. To make sense he should have quoted the definition of the adjective, viz., "involving many parts; complicated; intricate." Not to complex (Webster's transitive verb) the issue, the real confusion stems from the original terms, simple and compound, neither of which means anything as applied to fractures.As one not learned in etymology or other branches of philology, including semasiology, but acknowledging the need of descriptive values in nomenclature, I suggest dropping the designations "simple" and "compound" in favor of "closed" and "open." Qualifying adjectives such as complicated, crushing or comminuted

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