The experience which has been gained in the early preoperative care of severe thoracic battle casualties can, in large measure, be applied to the primary management of thoracic injuries in civil life as well. As far as this is true the following presentation may help to place such therapy on a firmly established basis in civil practice. The discussion is based on work in the Mediterranean and European theaters over a period of two and one-half years by us and our colleagues of an auxiliary surgical group.
First aid treatment of the thoracic casualty is initiated on the battlefield by company aid men. These soldiers are taught that sucking wounds should be closed with a dressing large enough to stop the sucking noise, that a "stove-in" chest should be bandaged snugly, that the wounded man should be urged to cough if he has a rattle in his windpipe and that