We have heard and read a great many stories about the rat; but in all our experience, we never before had one brought before us in the character of a surgeon. At one of our large hospitals, an operation was successfully performed upon an invalid soldier, by a common rat; which the surgeon in charge had himself delayed for a time, with the hope of causing less suffering to the patient. This patient was suffering from the effects of a fracture of the frontal bone of the skull, a piece of which projected outwards to some length; and the healing of the fleshy parts depended upon its removal. The bone was so firmly fixed, however, as, in the opinion of the surgeon, would cause unnecessary pain in its forcible removal; and such remedies were applied as would assist nature in eventually ejecting it. A soothing poultice was placed upon the part a night or two ago, a hole being made through the application for the insertion of the projecting bone. The patient was soon asleep in his bed, but during the night was aroused by the sting of pain, and awoke, to discover a rat making off with the piece of bone in his mouth. He struck at and hit the rat, but did not hurt him. The rat had probably been drawn to the bed of the soldier by the scent of the poultice, which was pleasant to his olfactories; but on reaching it, his keen appetite, no doubt, caused him to relish, in a large degree, the juicy bone so convenient to his teeth. He, therefore, seized, and drew it from its position, and was made to scamper off by the patient, whom he had aroused with pain. It was a skilful operation, quickly performed, and with result beneficially to the invalid.–Petersburg Express.
Originally posted 2008-11-18 00:06:55.