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Moffett's muted mules: the science of laryngology in the art of war

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 October 2018

V Sekhar
Affiliation:
Department of Otolaryngology, Westmead Hospital and University of Sydney, Australia
E Wong
Affiliation:
Department of Otolaryngology, Westmead Hospital and University of Sydney, Australia
H A Elhassan
Affiliation:
Department of Otolaryngology, Westmead Hospital and University of Sydney, Australia
N Singh
Affiliation:
Department of Otolaryngology, Westmead Hospital and University of Sydney, Australia
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Abstract

Background

Mules and other equine species have been used in warfare for thousands of years to transport goods and supplies. Mules are known for ‘braying’, which is disadvantageous in warfare operations. This article explores the fascinating development of surgical techniques to stop military mules from braying, with particular emphasis on the key role played by the otolaryngologist Arthur James Moffett in devoicing the mules of the second Chindit expedition of World War II.

Method

The PubMed database (1900–2017) and Google search engine were used to identify articles related to devoicing mules in the medical and veterinary literature, along with information and images on the Chindit expedition.

Results

This paper reviews the surgical techniques aimed at treating braying in mules, ranging from ventriculectomy and arytenoidectomy to Moffett's approach of vocal cordectomy.

Conclusion

Moffett's technique of vocal cordectomy provided a quick, reproducible and safe solution for devoicing mules. It proved to be advantageous on the battlefield and demonstrated his achievements outside the field of medicine.

Type
Review Articles
Copyright
Copyright © JLO (1984) Limited, 2018 

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Footnotes

Dr V Sekhar takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper

References

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