Device to apply plaster casts, England, 1910-1925
Measuring just under three metres tall, this imposing structure was used to apply extensive plaster casts to the body. It was referred to as ‘the gallows’. A child would be suspended from the upper part, their feet just touching the metal plate in the centre, and would be slowly rotated while bandages soaked in wet plaster of Paris were applied. The treatment was often used in an attempt to straighten out spines curved by the effects of tuberculosis, polio or scoliosis and, once hard, the casts could be left on for many days. The device was used at the Lord Mayor Treloar Orthopaedic Hospital in Alton, Hampshire, England. Set up in 1908, the hospital combined treatment of the physically disabled with education and schooling for long term patients. The hospital specialised in treating orthopaedic conditions that affect the joints, such as polio and a form of tuberculosis.
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Glossary: plaster cast
Glossary: plaster cast device
The branch of medicine concerned with the preservation and restoration of the muscular and skeletal systems in the body.
An infectious disease affecting the central nervous system. Affected individuals can exhibit a range of symptoms if the polio virus enters the blood stream.