OF ALL skeletal mechanisms of the body, that of the hand is not only the most complex but also the most essential to the economic and social independence of the individual. The rehabilitation of hand wounds presents special problems which have become accentuated by the large number of cases produced by warfare. It has been estimated that 6% of the 600,000 persons wounded in the army in World War II received hand wounds.1 We, therefore, have been interested in examining the end results of a representative sample of this group of 36,000 persons.
Several questions which were not at the time readily answerable frequently arose in the minds of those caring for hand injuries during the early phases after wounding. Some of them were as follows:
1. Should a badly damaged finger be amputated?
2. If amputation is to be done, can the decision be made early and thus