If a bone is broken, and a surgeon can be summoned within a couple of days, do not try to reduce the fracture. Place the man in a comfortable position, the injured part resting on a pad, and keep him perfectly quiet. In lifting the limb to slip the pad under, one hand should support the bone on each side of the break. Be very careful that the flesh and skin shall not be cut by the knife-like edges of broken bone, as such after-injury may have serious consequences.
It may be, however, that you must act as surgeon yourself. If the bone is broken in only one place, and it does not protrude, the injury is not serious. Get splints and bandages ready. Rip the clothing up the seam, and steadily pull the broken parts in opposite directions, without the slightest twisting. Begin gently, and gradually increase the strain. It may take a strong pull. When the two pieces are end to end, an assistant must gently work them till they fit. This will be announced by a slight thud. Then apply splints, and bandage them so as to hold the injured member immovable while the fracture heals.
Bark, when it can be peeled, makes the best splints for an arm or leg. Pick out a sapling (chestnut, basswood, elm, cedar, spruce) as near the size of the limb as possible. Remove the bark in two equal pieces by vertical slits. These should 6e longer than the bone that is broken, so as to clamp the connecting joints as well. Cover the concave insides with cloth, dry moss, crumpled grass, or other soft padding, to cushion the limb and prevent irritation. The edges of splints should not quite meet aro-ind the limb. Then get a long bandage, about two inches wide. Having set the bone, apply the splints on each side, and bandage them firmly enough to hold in place, but by no means so tightly as to impede circulation.
In default of bark, almost anything will do for splints that is stiff enough to hold the parts in place —barrel staves, thin boards, sticks, bundles of rushes, etc. Pad them well.
If a bone is broken in more than one place, or if it protrudes through the skin, and you cannot fetch a surgeon to the patient, then get him out of the woods at all hazards. The utmost pains must be taken in transporting him, lest the sharp edges of the bones saw off an artery or pierce an important organ.