February 21, 1920


JAMA. 1920;74(8):528-529. doi:10.1001/jama.1920.02620080030012

The pathogenesis of the severe symptoms, often ending in death, which may follow burns has long been a matter of speculation. The widely unlike character of the phenomena involved makes it more than probable that differences in the degree of injury are attended by a variety of untoward consequences not necessarily dependent on a common cause. Thus, in burns of the first and second degree there is little, if any, actual destruction or disintegration of the tissues, the reaction being more nearly of a severe inflammatory character. On the other hand, in the severe damage of burns of the third degree, when subcutaneous cellular tissues are actually destroyed, unusual chemical products may be generated, and their possible deportment in the organism must be taken into account. It is easy to understand how local symptoms arise in the case of burns; but the nature of the less frequent but more aggravated

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