FIRST CASE OF GROWING A NEW BONE.
I had searched for Minnesota men in Campbell, found none, and had been there a week, when Mrs. Kelsey told me there was one in ward ten, credited to a Wisconsin regiment; and from him I learned that he was a friend and neighbor of my friends, Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft, of Mantorville, and my conscience reproached me for not sooner finding him; but the second day Mrs. Gaylord came, as a messenger from the surgeons, to tell me I need not spend time and strength on him, as he could not be saved.
His was a thigh wound. They had thought to amputate, but found the bone shattered from joint to joint—had, with a chain saw, cut it off above the knee, and picked out the bone in pieces. There was a splinter attached to the upper joint, but that was all the bone left in the thigh, and the injury was one from which recovery was impossible. His father, a doctor, was visiting him, and knew he must die.
I went to the patient, who said:
“Dr. True, the ward surgeon has just been here, and tells me I must die!”
I sat by him fitting the measure I had been taking for two days to this new aspect of the case, and talking of death, and the preparation for it, until I thought I understood the case, when I said:
“Be ready for death, as every one of any sense should always be; but I do not intend to let you die.”
“I guess you cannot help it! All the surgeons and father agree that there is no hope for me.”
“But they are all liable to be mistaken, and none of them have taken into the account your courage and recuperative force; your good life and good conscience; your muscle, like a pine log; your pure breath; your clear skin and good blood. I do not care what they say, you will live; I will not let you die!”
I found Dr. Baxter, and said:
“I want you to save Corporal Kendall!”
“Corporal Kendall! who is he?”
“The man out of whose thigh you took the bone last week.”
His face grew sad, but he said:
“Oh, we mean to save them all if we can.”
“Doctor, that is no answer. I am interested in this man, know his friends and want to understand his case. If I can keep his stomach in good working order and well supplied with blood-making food, keep away chills and keep down pain, so that he can sleep, will he not get well?”
He laughed and replied:
“Well, I really never heard of a man dying under such circumstances.”
“I can do that, doctor.”
“If you can you will save him, of course, and we will give him to you.”
“But, doctor, you must do all the surgery. I must not give him pain; cannot see that wound.”
“Oh, certainly, we will do everything in our power; but he is yours, for we have no hope of saving him.”
“Another thing, doctor; you will have him brought to Ward Four.”