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Written 400 B.C.E
Translated by Francis Adams
In reating fractures and dislocations, the physician must make the extension
as straight as possible, for this is the most natural direction. But if
it incline to either side, it should rather turn to that of pronation,
for there is thus less harm than if it be toward supination. Those, then,
who act in such cases without deliberation, for the most part do not fall
into any great mistake, for the person who is to have his arm bound, presents
it in the proper position from necessity, but physicians who fancy themselves
learned in these matters, are they who commit blunders. There is no necessity
for much study, then, in order to set a broken arm, and in a word, any
ordinary physician can perform it; but I am under the necessity of giving
the longer directions on this subject, because I know physicians who have
the reputation of being skilled in giving the proper positions to the arm
in binding it up, while in reality they are only showing their own ignorance.
But many other things in our art are judged of in this manner, for people
rather admire what is new, although they do not know whether it be proper
or not, than what they are accustomed to, and know already to be proper;
and what is strange, they prefer to what is obvious. I must now state what
the mistakes of medical men are, which I wish to unteach, and what instructions
I have to give as to the management of the arm; for what I have to say
regarding it, will apply to the other bones in the body.