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August 24, 1918


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Anatomy, University of Chicago, and the Department of Pathology, Rush Medical College. This study was made under the supervision of Profs. C. J. Herrick and E. R. LeCount. The expenses were defrayed by an appropriation from a fund contributed to the University of Chicago for this purpose by twelve citizens of Chicago through the efforts of Mr. H. S. Hyman, and an appropriation made by the Otho S. A. Sprague Memorial Institute.

JAMA. 1918;71(8):644-648. doi:10.1001/jama.1918.02600340036010

This subject is important for three reasons:

  1. Carbon monoxid is liberated by bursting shells and therefore is one of the gases responsible for mortality in the present war.

  2. Deaths, accidental and suicidal, from inhalation of illuminating gas are increasingly frequent in civil life.1 Henderson2 states that carbon monoxid causes more deaths than all other gases combined. There is a reason to believe that a higher carbon monoxid content in illuminating gas is in part responsible for this. Statistics of certain cities of Great Britain3 indicate that the higher percentage of such deaths parallels the greater proportion of water gas used in the manufacture of a cheaper product.

  3. Carbon monoxid poisoning is of medicolegal significance. A history is not always available, and the characteristic cherry-red color of the blood and chemi-

cal proof of carbon monoxid are aids to diagnosis only in the first few days after poisoning. Kolisko4 in

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