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Thomas-type leg splint, Europe, 1901-1920

Originally used for hip diseases, the Thomas-type splint was designed to keep the leg still if it was broken and could be used for single and multiple fractures. Invented some years before the conflict by Hugh Owen Thomas (1834–1891), a pioneering British orthopaedic surgeon, the splint was used widely during the First World War. The splint is made from a canvas covered iron frame. Thomas-type splints were ideally used shortly after the injury had occurred and they greatly reduced the death rate from fractures.

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Glossary: splint

A rigid device of plastic, wood or plaster that serves to immobilize or support an injury. Generally strapped alongside an injured limb.

Glossary: Thomas splint

A splint used to immobilise leg fractures to allow healing. It has a ring at the hip connecting to a cross-piece at the foot.