Since hemothorax is one of the most frequent complications of chest injuries, it would probably facilitate our understanding of this condition if we review first the causes and sequence of events leading up to this serious complication.
Available statistics on gunshot wounds of the chest are indeed interesting and enlightening, especially when one compares the mortality statistics of this war with previous ones. Prior to the Civil War, accurate statistics were unavailable, but we are led to believe that chest wounds were invariably fatal. In the Civil War the death rate from chest wounds was 62 per cent.; in the Crimean War, 90 per cent.; in the Spanish-American War, 27 per cent., and in the present war available statistics show a wide variation, some investigators placing the mortality rate at 10 per cent., while others place it as high as 20 per cent. These conflicting figures are easily understood, and