The mortality resulting from brain injuries is very high. During the period from 1900 to 1910, the mortality figures at three of the large hospitals in New York ranged from 46 to 68 per cent, of all cases of brain injuries. In a report recently published by Dr. Besley1 of the Cook County Hospital of Chicago regarding 1,000 consecutive patients having fractures of the skull, the mortality was 53 per cent. This death rate is indeed appalling, and it undoubtedly accounts for the attitude of many doctors and most hospitals toward patients having fractures of the skull, particularly of the base. If the patient recovers, remarkable—he had a fracture of the skull. If he dies —well, he had a fracture of the skull.
It is this attitude of comparative hopelessness in the treatment of brain injuries that has allowed these cases to be almost neglected in the general hospital.