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November 29, 1947


JAMA. 1947;135(13):869. doi:10.1001/jama.1947.02890130059022

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To the Editor:—  In connection with Dr. H. Earle Conwell's communication (The Journal, October 25, p. 531) the following is submitted for the consideration of those concerned with fracture nomenclature.Generally speaking, it is desirable that a nomenclature use terms which are self-explanatory and which need little or no agreement as to what they mean. Consequently, if the terms "simple fracture" and "compound fracture," which are meaningless unless defined and agreed on, could be replaced by better terms much would be gained.Erich Lexer, the late Munich surgeon, was well aware of this; he objected against the corresponding German terms of "einfache" and "komplizierte Fraktur," and he insisted in the use of "geschlossener" and "offener Bruch," i. e. "closed fracture" and "open fracture." Undoubtedly, these terms tell, without any explanation or agreement as to meaning, whether there is or has been contact between the fractured bones and the outside world.

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