Hippocrates of Cos, Fractures

LCL 149: 94-95

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I. Ἐχρῆν τὸν ἰητρὸν τῶν ἐκπτωσίων τε καὶ καταγμάτων ὡς ἰθύτατα τὰς κατατάσιας ποιεῖσθαι· αὕτη γὰρ ἡ δικαιοτάτη φύσις. ἢν δέ τι ἐγκλίνῃ ἢ τῇ ἢ τῇ, ἐπὶ τὸ πρηνὲς ῥέπειν· ἐλάσσων γὰρ ἡ ἁμαρτὰς ἢ ἐπὶ τὸ ὕπτιον. οἳ μὲν οὖν μηδὲν προβουλεύονται οὐδὲν ἐξαμαρτάνουσιν ὡς ἐπὶ τὸ πολύ· αὐτὸς γὰρ ἐπιδησόμενος1 τὴν χεῖρα ἀπορέγει οὕτως ὑπὸ τῆς δικαίης φύσιος ἀναγκαζόμενος· οἱ δὲ ἰητροὶ σοφιζόμενοι δῆθεν 10ἔστιν ἄρα ἐφ᾿ οἷς2 ἁμαρτάνουσι. σπουδὴ μὲν οὖν οὐ πολλὴ χεῖρα κατεηγυῖαν χειρίσαι, καὶ παντὸς δὲ ἰητροῦ, ὡς ἔπος εἰπεῖν· ἀναγκάζομαι δὲ ἐγὼ πλείω γράφειν περὶ αὐτοῦ3 ὅτι οἶδα ἰητροὺς σοφοὺς δόξαντας εἶναι ἀπὸ σχημάτων χειρὸς ἐν ἐπιδέσει, ἀφ᾿ ὧν ἀμαθέας αὐτοὺς ἐχρῆν δοκεῖν εἶναι. ἄλλα4 γὰρ πολλὰ οὕτω ταύτης τῆς τέχνης κρίνεται· τὸ γὰρ ξενοπρεπὲς οὔπω συνιέντες, εἰ χρηστόν, μᾶλλον ἐπαινέουσιν ἢ τὸ σύνηθες, ὃ ἤδη οἴδασιν ὅτι χρηστόν, καὶ τὸ ἀλλόκοτον ἢ τὸ 20εὔδηλον. ῥητέον οὖν ὁπόσας ἂν ἐθέλω τῶν ἁμαρτάδων τῶν ἰητρῶν, τὰς μὲν ἀποδιδάξαι, τὰς δὲ διδάξαι[· ἄρξομαι δὲ]5 περὶ τῆς φύσιος τῆς


On Fractures, I.

On Fractures

I. In dislocations and fractures, the practitioner should make extensions in as straight a line as possible, for this is most conformable with nature;1 but if it inclines at all to either side, it should turn towards pronation(palm down) rather than supination(palm up), for the error is less. Indeed, those who have no preconceived idea make no mistake as a rule, for the patient himself holds out the arm for bandaging in the position impressed on it by conformity with nature. The theorizing practitioners are just the ones who go wrong. In fact the treatment of a fractured arm is not difficult, and is almost any practitioner’s job, but I have to write a good deal about it because I know practitioners who have got credit for wisdom by putting up arms in positions which ought rather to have given them a name for ignorance. And many other parts of this art are judged thus: for they praise what seems outlandish before they know whether it is good, rather than the customary which they already know to be good; the bizarre rather than the obvious. One must mention then those errors of practitioners as to the nature of the arm on which I want to give positive

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.hippocrates_cos-fractures_joints_mochlicon_fractures.1928