The recent occurrence of epidemic diseases among the new troops in some of the cantonments was associated with an unusually large number of cases of pleural effusions, many of which developed into empyema. A large percentage of these empyema patients required surgical intervention. Some were successfully treated by aspiration alone.
At the base hospital, Camp Zachary Taylor, Ky., out of 128 cases of empyema, for the most part of hemolytic streptococcus origin, treated by open operation, up to the first day of May of 1918, in fifty-five rib resection was performed, and in seventy-three, simple intercostal thoractomy was done. In the first group there occurred seventeen deaths, corresponding to a mortality of 30.9 per cent., while in the second group, eleven deaths occurred, giving slightly less than half the death rate of the former group, or 15 per cent.
It is not, of course, contended that thoracotomy without rib resection