Title: News Items | The Accident to the King of the Cowboys

Periodical: Medical News

Date: June 25, 1887

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THE ACCIDENT TO THE KING OF THE COWBOYS.—The case of the celebrated cowboy, Buck Taylor, who met with an accident at Buffalo Bill's "Wild West" last week, is not without surgical interest. The peculiar character of the injury is explained by the circumstances under which it was inflicted. He was engaged in the quadrille on horseback, and was passing between two horses, when one of them, ridden by a "Western girl," swerved, and left little space for his horse to pass on. He attempted, however, to go forward, when the swerving horse swung itself with great force against his right thigh, and he felt the bone snap as he received the blow. Buck Taylor then tried to rest the injured limb along the back of the horse, but found at once that he had lost all control over the muscles of the thigh; so he threw his arm round the horse's neck, and looked out for the right moment to slip as comfortably as possibly on the tan. Unfortunately, he could not control himself as he slid off, but fell on his back and sprained the muscles of his neck. Mr. Maitland Coffin [1] was present, and improvised a splint for the injured thigh without disturbing the patient's clothes. Buck Taylor was removed in an ambulance to the West London Hospital, and admitted into Mr. Keetley's [2] accident-ward. A simple and perfectly transverse fracture of the right thigh-bone was discovered, at the junction of the upper with the middle third of the shaft. The shortening hardly amounted to half an inch, owing, probably, to the direct violence which had broken the bone, without the aid of muscular action, and also to the transverse character of the fracture. This trifling amount of shortening is observed after an artificial transverse fracture as produced in Macewen's operation. [3] The chief point of interest, however, in this case is the production of the fracture by direct force applied to the outer aspect of the thigh, not apparently high in degree, and without injury to the soft parts. A few similar cases have been recorded. The limb was placed in a long splint, with extension by a weight and pulley, and a kettle-holder splint was fitted to the anterior aspect of the thigh. Buck Taylor is quite the hero of the hour, and receives daily a large number of visitors, including many persons of high social position and culture, who take an interest in an unsophisticated child of nature.

British Medical Journal, June 11, 1887.

Note 1: The physician treating Buck Taylor was Dr. Maitland Coffin; Coffin also attended Long Wolf, an Oglala Sioux with Buffalo Bill's Wild West, just prior to Long Wolf's passing in June 1892 in St. George's Hospital, London. [back]

Note 2: Dr. Charles Keetley was senior surgeon of the West London Hospital. [back]

Note 3: Macewen's operation was an orthopedic surgical procedure in practice in the 1880s. [back]

Title: News Items | The Accident to the King of the Cowboys

Periodical: Medical News

Date: June 25, 1887

Topic: Buffalo Bill's Wild West in Britain

Keywords: Accidents Buffalo Bill's Wild West Company Cowboys Horsemanship Horses

People: Coffin, Maitland Keetley, Charles Taylor, William Levi, 1857-1924

Sponsor: This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine W. & Robert J. Dellenback Foundation.

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