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The problem of frostbite in civilian medical practice

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  • Biology
  • Medicine


Tltc Srrrcictrl Clir1ic.r o f Sort11 :\nzer.iCtl The Problem of Frostbite in Civilian Medical Practice From the Departments of Surgery, .L University of Colorado School of Medicine and ! .the Denver lveterans Adtninistration Hospital, Denrcr GII.BERT HERlIASS. lI .D. DAIVID C. SCHECIITER. 1I.D. ,J. CUTHIIERT On-ESP. 1I.D. ?'HOJI.\S I.:. ST*lRZL. 1 I . D . ON THE PASS of 1 I t . Cenis, between France and Italy, is the "Cliapelle des Transis," a refuge dedicated many centuries ago to travelers frozen on their journeys through the Alps. Technological improvements have since reduced the hazards of winter life, but cold illjury is still an impor- tant medical problem particularly in xvartime, \\-here under field condi- tions disability has often reached epidemic proport ior~s.~~ -1 revien- of 54 cases of frostbite treated during the past fire years at the Colorado General and the Denver 1-eterans -1dminirtration Hospitals has convinced 11s that cold injury is an important medic:ti problem n-ithin the civilian population as well. Hospitalization and rehabilitation constituted a heavy financial burden to the individual, his family and the community. Crippling amputations or late neurovascular compli- cations often resulted. The cases exhibited a n-ide spectrum of clinical manifestations ranging from mild erythema to totally destroyed extremities. I t 1vas apparent from the lack of uniformity in treatment regimens that no one mode of therapy has been accepted as entirely adequate. This fact emphasizes the lack of general agreement in many facets of the etiology, patho- physiology and proper care of this form of trauma. .llthough no new basic information can be gained from a review of Aided by (;rant A-3176 from the U.S. Public I-it.alth Service, Bethesda, llaryltlnd. 519 2 (;. I I k : ~ r ~ r . z s s , D. C. SCIIEC~ITER~ J. C. OWENS, T. E. STARZL c:~scs such as this. it does provide a convenient background to illustrate thc c~omplexitie

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