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June 9, 1917


Author Affiliations

Fellow of the American College of Surgeons; Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel, Royal Army Medical Corps, with the British Expeditionary Force in France CHICAGO

JAMA. 1917;LXVIII(23):1689-1692. doi:10.1001/jama.1917.04270060097006

The question of buttock wounds in modern warfare is a subject that is deserving of special attention on account of their frequency, the high mortality, the variety of injuries and complications, and the demand for special and urgent surgical procedures to meet conditions rarely encountered in civil surgery.

These wounds may be inflicted by rifle fire, machine gun bullets, hand grenades, trench mortars, shrapnel, etc., but by far the most frequent etiologic factor is the high explosive shell particles from bombs. Why, one may ask, are buttock wounds frequent? The answer is definite. It is a custom now in the war zone for soldiers to throw themselves prone on the ground when a shell is coming, or when an aeroplane approaches and surprises them in the open. The reason for this is that as the shells strike they burst by contact into a number of pieces, varying from thirty to 300.