As the dead body was taken from the theatre the surgeon, Mr Sinclair, addressed the ranks of observers who had gathered to watch the operations. Some were medical students, but many were the dilettantes who were interested in anything scientific.
“Gentlemen, our next patient is a young factory worker who was unfortunate to get crushed between the wheels of a spinning jenny. The injuries to her leg are so severe I will amputate above the knee.” He continued. Please be as quiet as you can when the young girl is brought in.”
He turned to his assistants and nodded they quickly and quietly left the room and returned with the sobbing girl and laid her on the table. The assistants tightened the straps holding her on the table leaving the crushed leg free. Sinclair spoke to her his voice confident and kind. “Now my dear, keep your bowels open and trust in God and it will quickly be over.”
With that he turned to the small table beside him and placed the saw between his teeth, taking the curved fleshing knife turned to his work. An assistant had taken the girls leg and held it over his arm and held it firmly. Sinclair quickly placed his arm under the leg so that the knife was curved under her leg.
He made one quick cut in one move circled the leg and down to the bone as he did so the high pitched scream began. He dropped the knife and grabbed the saw with made five quick strokes, and he cut through the bone, and the leg was off.
The girl had mercifully fainted as he took one of the threaded needles from his coat collar. And began to close the veins and arteries when he had finished he took the flaps of flesh and stitched them over the wound. The girl was starting to come round, and he stared into her eyes seeking her forgiveness. “It’s all over my dear”.
As the assistants gently lifted her onto the trolley, She quietly whispered: “Thank you, sir”. The porters took her to the recovery ward. From her entry into the Theatre to the time she left 11 minutes had passed, Probably the longest 11 minutes of her life.
Sinclair turned to the observers and bowed to the cheers and applause of the crowd. Sinclair said, “Gentlemen the surgeon needs the heart of a Lion, the strength of a Bull and skill of a seamstress.”
With that, he left the theatre and entered his dressing room where he threw up over the floor. Trembling he took the decanter and poured a glass of fortified wine, he drank it in one gulp and wiping his hands down his blood and vomit stained coat made his way to the wards.