The first, thirteen cases were treated in the
Hospital attached to the w esselton Fine Compound.
The fourteenth case was treated in the General Hospital
Kimberley and was the result of an assault.
The first five cases resulted from blasting
accidents or from the falling of lumps of blue-ground
from the roofs of chambers in the underground
workings in Wesselton Diamond Mine.
The next seven cases resulted from injuries
received during a prolonged tribal fight between the
Transvaal Basutos and the British Basutos in the
Wesselton Mine Compound. There »-ere 1,2,00 combatants
on one side and 800 on the other. There were
59 causalities, including several cases of compound
fracture of the skull, compound fractures of the leg,
scalp wounds, and lacerations arid bruises of various
parts of the body.
The six cases (Nos. 6 - 11) were operated upon
on the 2 6 t h December, 1909. T’he first, case was
placed on the table to be shaved and scrubbed at 9.15
a.m., and case eleven was dressed and removed from the
operating table at 12 noon; the six operations
having taken exactly 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Case 12 was injured in the same fight, but was
not found till Monday evening, the 27th. He was
operated on next day, the 28th December, 1909.
Cases 13 and 14 are mentioned on account of
their interest in connection with the question of
diagnosing whether an injury and fracture of the
vault of the skull includes its whole thickness and
the consequent decision as to whether trephining is
advisable in all cases of compound fracture of the
The first 12 cases were operated on iri the
theatre of the Wesselton Mine Compound Hospital, Hr
S. Wicks was the Anaesthetist and used Chloroform.
The assistants were two white male dispensers, and
three black ward boys. After operation the
patients were removed to the surgical ward on a
stretcher and put to bed and watched till recovery
from the anaesthetic was complete.
In all the Oases the heads were shaved after
bleeding had been stopped by pressure with forceps or
ligature, and the skin was well brushed with warm
solution or mercurial solution 1.2.000., then the
head was washed down with sterilized Horic lotion
which was also used during the operations. The
swabs were of cotton wool prepared with every antiseptic
All the instruments used were sterilized before
use and placed in sterlie Poric Lotion. Each assistant
had his duties definitely allotted and used
all antiseptic precautions. The head was placed on
a mackintosh covered with a towel wrung out of
mercurial solution 1.2000.
The native ward boys held the patient and
brought the lotions and held dressing trays and
In each Case Silk-worm gut threaded in a
fully curved needle was used to stitch lip the skin
wound. The first, dressing was of Cyanide gauze
next the wound and cotton wool outside, both from
sterile covered dishes. The bandage was applied
These 12 Cases were all adult native males.
The exact age of a native is very difficult to
obtain; they have no idea of time as we count it.
The youngest, "Jack Modifan" was about 24 and the
rest were older, one "April" being about 45 years of