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The Ogden standard. [volume] (Ogden City, Utah) 1913-1920, October 16, 1915, 4 P.M. CITY EDITION, MAGAZINE SECTION, Image 16

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85058396/1915-10-16/ed-1/seq-16/

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111 i T T TP j-T fPO JL0 rs 1 I
Ifw-'j 1 1 - llrs, Frank Gibbons, $
I jjjj I J Dr. Cliarlcs Casey, v.
H w l A? '&IBHHHKK AMtfWHH &. v.3HHH
f Surgeon. Casey Directs tlio Oporat
The wireless operator on' the
Bteamship Tivives of the United
Fruit Lino was suddenly startled
j out of his midnight drowsiness a few
i wrecks ago by & Tadlo call for help.
i .The call was answered and quickly
there flashed to the ship from a lone
ly island in tho middlo of tho Carib
bean Sea this request for a surgeon:
"We've got a dying man need a
, Burgeon's advico for God's sake,
( get ono quick!"
Tho wireless man, all sleep- gona
Ilrom his -tired brain, rushed to the
fcabin of tho ship's surgeon. Dr.
I Charles Casey. Tho surgeon, in pa-,
jamas, was hurried to tho wireless
house and stood, by tho operator
i while ho got in touch with Swan
1 Island.
' Swan Island is a lonely place
about midway between Jamaica and
' British Hondurasi&It has ono of tho
most powerful wireless stations in
tho western hemisphere The stcam-
i ehip was just out of Kingston,
, bound for Colon. The island and
i tho ship were talking over a dls-
) fcance close to 200 miles.
Swan Island quickly told Its ti ou-
1 Kles. In dots and dashes tho story
i came through tho ether whilo tho
1 tenso listening operator repeated it
i I "Word for word to the surgeon. Ono
Iof tho Swan Island wireless opera
tors had met with an accident. His
. ., right leg had boon badly crushed at
HI the knee. Gangrene had set In. Tho
HI ' man was in a dying condition. .What
HhI ' was to be done?
WM i t Surgeon Casey aBked for a detail-
B ; t ted history ot tho case. Ho asked for
HH a minute description ot tho crushed
H9 'limb. . .When tho desired Informa-
HH tion had been flashed across tho dark
HH :vate.rs tho surgeon ordered the ship
'bperator to tell Swan jBland that
H Instant amputation ot the limb was
HI thp only course to savo the injured
HI man's life.
HI "All right," came back tho word
HI Jrom Swan Island. "We'ro gamo to
II bperato if you'll tell us how.''
HI , Then- followed as stfango an"op-
HI :
Ion From Uio Steamship Tiilves.
eration as has ever been chronicled
in the annals of surgery. Here was
a caso in which a man's leg was am
putated by a surgeon 200 miles
away. The marvelous radio which
has saved ships, which has brought
succor to tho wounded and dying,
never gave a more thrilling demon
stration of its powers,
Tho story of the-operation has just
been brought to tho United States by
Mrs. Frank Gibbons,' formerly Miss
Elsio Saunders, a nurse in Cook
County Hospital of Chicago. MrB.
Gibbons is the wife of Frank Gib
bons, the Swan Island wireless op
erator whoso life was saved by tho
wireless surgical operation. Tho
little woman is homo to rest after
her terrible ordeal, for it was Bho
who administered tho ether and
helped tie up sovered arteries and
veins while tho Swan Island cook
wielded tho knifo and saw that sev
ered her husband's crushed- leg.
ix HOsrrrAx.
They had been Installing a new
dynamo in ono of the -wireless tow
ers on Swan Island, Wireless Op
erator Gibbons was assisting in tho
work. Suddenly and without the
slightest warning the wooden plat
form on which tho dynamo was be
ing erected collapsed and the heavy
machine fell on Gibbons, pinning his
right leg to tho floor. When the
dynamo had been raised from tho
unconscious operator it was found
that ho had been seriously Injured.
Tho limb was crushed almost io a
pulp at the knee.
For two days Mrs. Gibbons, 'whose
experience as a trained nurso in
Chicago served her well, attended
her husband. Sho realized that tho
leg was lost.
"Oh, if wo could but get a sur
geon," she kept exclaiming. "If, wo
had a surgeon Frank's life would be
The condition of the patient kept
growing worse. Then there were
symptoms of deadly gangrene. At
last Mrs. Gibbons had an inspiration.
"If we can got In touch with some
. -ship having a surgeon on board wo
can get advice by wireless," she
Tho wireless men and Mrs. Gib
bons looked over the chart and sail
ing schedules and discovered that
the Tlvives had left Kingston for
Colon. They immediately began call- .
ing for the Tivives and soon vicre
When the amputation was decid
ed upon Instant preparations werej,
made. The operators' room at the
wireless station was turned into a
surgical operating room. A long
table was set up in the center under
a strong electric light. The medi
cine chest was ransacked for all
bandages, silk thread, knives, scis
. sors and the necessary drugs.
Then arose the question as to who4
was to do the actual cutting. Mrs.
Gibbons was the only ono who had
a practical knowledge of surgery,
but sho could not braco herself to
actually wield the knife. The Swan
Island cook volunteered to do tho
work under the wireless direction
of Surgeon Casey, 200 miles away.
Mrs. Gibbons and tho wife of the en
gineer of the power plant were to
The half-conscious sufferer was
carried to the operating room. The
cook had donned a long white apron.
The instruments, carefully sterilized
under the direction of the former
nurse, lay glittering under tho arc
lamp. It was a strained and nerv
ous group that stood about the op
erating tablo or behind the wireless
man as he sat in his headpiece,
writing down the detailed direction
shooting through the tropical night
from the surgeon 200 miles away.
Mrs. Gibbons read the instructions
aloud. They were told how to ether
ize the patient and how to apply a
tourniquot to the limb above tho
point where it was to bo severed.
vMrs. Gibbons braced herself for the
ordeal. Carefully she made a cone
out of paper and filled it with gauze.
Sho kissed her husband lovingly
and then, placing the cone upon his
-face, she began dropping the ether
into the top openng. Soon the pa
tient had passed into unconscious
ness. COOK TUBffS
It was a strangely silent night;
only tho high-pitched, metallic drone
of the receiving Instrument as tho
dot-and-dash instructions came
across the Caribbean from the far
off surgeon broke the stillness. Then
would come the crash of the send
ing machine as tho wireless man
told tho surgeon how tho operation
was proceeding.
The Swan Island cook took a deep
breath and began his initial experi
ence as a surgeon. Tho knives and .
saw wore sharp, his hand was steady
and ho was engaged in saving the
life of a fellow creature. The cook
made a cut around the limb two
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stetc SIl0wa tflo Dramalic Scene as Operation Is Carried Out, At loft Frank Gibbons, the Victim, Below roweriul WirelefS )H j
- Station on Swan Island. jg;'j)
Statements of Two Chief Actors in Surgical Feat j M
',' - !' Ha
!; By 3Irs. Frank Gibbons. J;
;j During my experienco as a trained nurso in Chicago I witnessed '!
!; and assisted in many hundreds of operations but, strange to say, I ''
; never saw an amputation. Shortly after my husband met with his '
' accident I realized that an amputation would bo necessary to savo his I;
; life. I hopo I shall never again experience such a strain as I did l
;! during that operation directed by a surgeon so far away, A dozen
!; times during the proceedings I felt that I was going to faint, but I '
; steeled myself, realizing that to save ray husband's life I must retain jl
J my presence of mind. I tried to forgot that I was the wife of tho pa- !;
!; tient. I tried to forget that I was madly in lovo with the sufferer. ;i
;j I tried to delude myself into the thought that I was but a trained i
!; nurse assisting at tho operation of a stranger, whoso case meant noth-
j ing particularly to me. It was a difficult matter, but I .succeeded. ;!
;! I kept a steady hand and as a result I was able to make uso of my !;
j; knowledge of tho operating room. But when It was all over and I ;i
l realized that my husband'3 life was saved I could not continue my i
!; self-delusions. I became myself again; a simple, loving wife. And !;
j; then it was that I fainted. !
inches below the tourniquet Ho
turned back tho skin and flesh like
the cuff on a shirt. Slowly but sure
ly tho operation progressed.
Deftly tho volunteer surgeon cut
through the bone. From time to
time Mrs. Gibbons passed tho efher
over to ,hcr woman assistant whilo
with deft, trained fingers he bound
up ,sovercd arteries and veins with
surgical silk. Also with deft fingers
that betokened not tho slightest
nervousness sho wielded the needle
.and thread that brought tho flaps of
flesh together.
At last the terrible strain was
over. The operation was completed.
The wound had been sterilized, the
By Br. Charles Casey. fjljj
A V ftll
As a surgeon on land and sea for a score of years I havo per- ;! sm
formed or assisted in many operations, but never did L havo a more !; fl'$
thrilling experlenco than in directng tho amputation of a man's leg WW
at a distance of 200 miles from tho operating table. I was given a dc- j Ha
tailed account of tho man's injurios and I speedily realized that an !; 'flj
amputation alono would savo his life. I knew there were no skilled ; $8
surgeons at the other end of tho wireless, so I had to bo unusual- j Jlfe
ly explicit In rily directions. I directed tho Swan Island operatives j Mg
how to adjust tho tourniquot and how to etherizo the patient Then ; m'
I instructed them to mako a cut around tho limb about threo iuches ; ; W$
below tho tourniquot. I then told them to turn back tho skin and ,
flesh llko a cuff. This being done, I Instructed them to cut through ;! 11
the muscles to the bone and saw tho bone. .This left several arteries lj
and veins open. They had no artery forceps, so I told them how to j ljjjj
get hold of the blood vessels with a needle, which, having been j M&
done, they were instructed to tio with silk. Then the flap of flesh the : itl
cuff-llko flap was turned back and stitched and tho operation waa ;! fl
complete, N
" 1M$&
, . . 'mut
gauzo drain had been applied, the
tourniquet had been removed and
the still unconscious patient, whose
fluttering heart betokened tho fact
that lifo still existed, was being car
ried to his bungalow. Then Mrs.
Gibbons, whoso demonstration of
pluck is equal to that of any heroino
in history, fainted dead away as tho
w- K?
wireless crashed out the message, ''jitfj
"Tho operation is over and seem '-mk
successful. $lr
"Goodnight and good luck." droned jjlfj&
back tho reply from the directing j
surgeon 200 miles across the Carib- Ju
bean, over which the' first pink Ufiht 3
of early dawn was. beginning to jWj
break; ImlbF

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