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Type: Journal article
Title: Surviving multi-trauma in the past
Author: Cornish, B.
Solomon, L.
Walshe, K.
Citation: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Surgery, 2010; 80(12):912-916
Publisher: Blackwell Science Asia
Issue Date: 2010
ISSN: 1445-1433
Statement of
Brian Cornish, Lucian Bogdan Solomon and Keryn Walshe
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Surviving multi-trauma is strongly associated with emergent resuscitation and treatment in modern medical facilities. Multi-trauma survival before the advent of modern medicine is likely to have been extremely uncommon, particularly in primitive societies. The aim of this study was to investigate the case of an ancient Australian Aboriginal who appeared to have survived multi-trauma. METHODS: We investigated the skeletal remains of an adult Australian Aboriginal with healed fractures of the right femur and humerus. The time of death was assessed by carbon dating. The sex and approximate age of the subject were assessed from the skeleton's morphometry. The fractured bones were assessed by visual inspection, plain radiographs and computer tomography (CT) scanning. RESULTS: The remains were of a male aged approximately 50 years at the time of his death, approximately 1000 years ago, preceding European settlement. Analysis of the malunions indicated that all fractures occurred in one traumatic event, normally a life-threatening injury combination, and that the subject survived for years after this incident, despite no or failed active treatment of his fractures. CONCLUSIONS: The survival of a man living in a primitive society after multi-trauma reflects an impressive depth of nursing and social support in a community of hunter gatherers.
Keywords: Aboriginal; femur; fracture; humerus; multi-trauma.
Rights: © 2010 The Authors. ANZ Journal of Surgery © 2010 Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
RMID: 0020102932
DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.2010.05527.x
Appears in Collections:Orthopaedics and Trauma publications

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