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TWENTY YEARS AGO in Southern England, powerful vehicles and the blackout of war produced a steady stream of victims of mechanical trauma in the emergency rooms of civilian and military hospitals. Among the saddest of these were the quadriplegics, few of whom survived more than a few weeks. Often suspicion arose that injury to the cervical cord occurred after the accident, in transport to the hospital, but only rarely could this be proved.
The then current manuals of first aid were reviewed with regard to injuries to the cervical spine. None had more to offer than the recommendation that the patient be moved with care, supine, and preferably with sandbags on the sides of the neck.
A scheme of traction splinting was worked out which seemed better than sandbags, required no more equipment than that found in the average ambulance, and, if this were lacking, could be improvised from a
Quigley TB. Simple First Aid Traction Splint for Cervical Spine Injuries. JAMA. 1962;181(9):792–793. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050350054016b
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