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March 1960


AMA Arch Surg. 1960;80(3):406-415. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1960.01290200050008

In World War I, and for many years of the interim between the wars, neurosurgery was not the sharply defined specialty which it became in World War II. Because of the classic work of Harvey Cushing on penetrating wounds of the brain, the chapters on this subject in the history of the First World War were exceedingly helpful in setting up a program for head trauma in World War II. In sharp contrast, the history of this war was of very little help to the clinician in the management of injuries of the spine and the peripheral nerves. The few paragraphs devoted to major injuries of the spinal cord were no more than a depressing statement of the futility of any treatment for these casualties, most of whom, if they did not die immediately after wounding, died, at most, within weeks or months. As for peripheral nerve injuries, although the

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