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The Nelation Probe

The Nelation Probe image
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Dr. Bliss says that soon after President Garfleld was shot he explored tlie wound with a "Nelation probe," which showed no traces of a contact with lead. This little instrument has a curious I'istory. General Garibaldi was wounded in the battle at Aspromonte, in 1862, by aball which penetrated liis boot and stocking, and lodged in nis foot. After two months of suffering at Spezzia, hi3 Italian physicians, liipari and Albanesse, declared that there was no ball in the foot. Cypriani supposed, merely, that the reverse miglit be true. ïhen they summoned the foreigners. The Russian, Pirigoff, said: "No ball." Partridge, the Englishman, who insisted on receiving an enormous fee in advance before he would consent to leave England, said: "There is no ball in the foot." On the 28th of October, flfty-nine days after the infliction of the wound, Nelaton, who had been summoned from Paris, arrived at Spezzia. There was a consul tation with four nations in the front parlor anxious to hear the result, and seventeen surgeons in the upper front bedroom, only one of whom was capable of carrying off the honors. 'l?y the aid of a stylet," wrote Nelaton, "1 explored the wound, and at the depth of two and a half eentiiaetej-s, I encountered a dense resisting maas, giving a dull percussion sound very different from that resulting from impact upon indurated tissue, or the roughened surface of spongy bone. Inclining the stylet, I passed beyond the obstacle, and at the depth of five or six centimeters I feit the resistance of bone." The obstacle was the ball. In order to prove it, he fastened a bit of Sevres porcelain to the extremity of a probé, which Garibaldi himself introduced into the wound. There it was lirmly pressed against the ball and withdrawn, when the extremity of the porcelain, no longer white, was found to be covered with a delicate black layer of metalic aspect, which was subjected to analysis and found to be lead. Thus a new sort of probe for gunshot wounds was iirf ented by Nelaton, whose name it bears, and Garibaldi was saved by the extraction of the ball - a bit of lead the song went, was "transmnted by Nelaton into purest gold." The Frenen surgeon refused to accept any honorarium, "esteeming himself," as lie remarked like a true Parisian, "sufficiently rewarded in sarng the life of the illustrious General who had so often exposed it in the nojle cause of emancipation and indesendence." Nelaton's name was in every mouth. Figaro and the Paris jouraals were ecstatic. The magazines, the story and the song books, could not recite the tale sufticiently of ten. The most popular bailad of the day was the air froin whiíh a line is givenabove. A stanza in another part of the same doggerel production may be rúdely translated as follows: Now, teil me, who was it, I bef, sir, That took the ball ont of jronr leg, rir? Oh, where are the word to einploy, In describing the comfort I teel! It wae Nelaton did it, my boy, Wheu he slipped Uie ball out of my heel! For f ully flve years alter the lucky probing at Spezzia there was scarcely a photographer in France who could not snpply purchasers with the famous picture, representingthe surgeon standing by the side of the wounded General, who reclined on a cot with his foot swung above in a portable frame, and the words underneath: "Dr. Nelaton Declares that amputation will not be Necessary."


Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat