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May 1958

Surgery in World War II: Orthopedic Surgery in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1958;101(5):1010. doi:10.1001/archinte.1958.00260170166020

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It is sad but apparently axiomatic that historians of military medicine should preface all their efforts by recording how the concepts and methods of civilian practice were found to be inapplicable to the campaign they report and that appropriate treatment had to be relearned in the field.

This volume is no exception but does record in a very comprehensive manner the care given by the orthopedic services in the Mediterranean area during World War II. Many of the points it raises would only be of interest to an orthopedic surgeon, but the account of the development of the consultant services and the reasons behind the dogmatic tone of the circular letters would seem to imply more intelligence in the higher echelons than junior medical officers are often prepared to allow.

Dogmas invite controversy, and the disagreements raised by some of the treatment orders are reasonably assessed; in the case of

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