This section is from the book "Smith's Family Physician", by William Henry Smith. See also: Natural Physician's Healing Therapies: Proven Remedies that Medical Doctors Don't Know.
These wounds are attended with less haemorrhage than those produced by cuts, both because their surface being irregular, renders it easy for the blood to adhere and coagulate, and because arteries, when torn, do not bleed so much as when cut. But in all other respects they are infinitely more serious. They are liable to inflame violently and slough; they are often complicated with foreign bodies; and they are more liable than simple wounds to occasion severe constitutional disturbance and tetanus.
In the first place bleeding must be restrained,, which, if no large blood-vessel has been wounded, may easily be done by the application of a little Tannic Acid; secondly, foreign bodies must be removed; thirdly, the divided parts must be brought into apposition, in case the whole or any part of them may be inclined to unite by adhesion. But as this is not very likely to occur, and as the wound mostly inflames highly and suppurates, there should be no straining with plaisters or tight bandages. Then the patient must observe rest and low diet, and be purged; and a cloth dipped in cold water, or a soft poultice, or a poppy fomentation, may be applied locally, whichever is most comfortable to his feelings. But, whatever the application, Carbolic Acid, in the proportion of a dram and a half to a pint, should be added to it. Cold must not be applied too extensively, especially if the injury is seated on the trunk, or is very severe, or if much blood has been lost, or the patient is very old, or young, or feeble.
When pain and inflammation appear, bleeding may be performed, if the injury is important enough to require it, and the patient's strength can bear it; otherwise leeches should be applied. But the patient must not be reduced too much, or Tetanus will be more liable to come on. Particular care should be taken to keep the air from the wound, and this may be done by covering it with several layers of cotton wadding, (or batting, as they call it on this side of the Atlantic.) One or two of these layers should be soaked in a solution of Carbolic Acid, of the strength mentioned above.