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To the Editor:—
In the article in The Journal, March 12, page 1138, by Craighead and Glass, entitled "Management of Nonpenetrating Injuries of the Chest," figure 1, showing stabilization of flail chest by sternal traction, and figure 2, showing the Bigelow screws and bar, are excellent, but the Bigelow screws and bar may not always be available and other means may have to be used. In the southern Pacific Ocean, during World War II, the hospital that I was in received a man with such a severely crushed chest that it is remarkable that he reached the hospital alive. One of the surgeons simply grasped each costal cartilage with a towel clamp (Backhaus) applied through the skin and attached them to an overhead bar. The patient made a good recovery. This method of costal, or sternal, traction is almost universally available.
Schaffer JH. STERNAL TRACTION. JAMA. 1960;173(4):445. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020220119026