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April 10, 1920


Author Affiliations


From the Medical Clinic, City Hospital and the Pharmacological Laboratory, Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

JAMA. 1920;74(15):1000. doi:10.1001/jama.1920.02620150008004

During the last Christmas holiday season a large number of dark, ghastly looking patients who had been drinking "denatured alcohol" were brought into the City Hospital within a few days. As a rule they were unconscious. The dark, almost black, discoloration was limited mainly to the extremities, face and neck, including a fringe of the upper portion of the chest. In other words, the richly vascular, pigmented and dependent portions of the body were principally involved. The color was not the typical blue of ordinary cyanosis, but rather a livid, brown-black or nearly black, suggesting the presence of methemoglobin in the blood. Except for the deep narcosis and a moderately rapid pulse, the patients were otherwise practically normal. No other circulatory and no respiratory disturbances were detectable. After a deep sleep of about twenty-four hours, the patients left the hospital fully recovered. They did not seem to suffer, and there

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