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July 10, 1937

FORTY DAYS' CONSTIPATION

Author Affiliations

New Jersey State Hospital, Trenton, N. J.

JAMA. 1937;109(2):150. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780280056023

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Abstract

To the Editor:—  A few years ago while in charge of a large hospital in South China I saw a man whose bowels had not moved for forty days. The Chinese are very reliable in giving clinical histories and taking a great deal of notice of their excretory functions. I believe implicitly that the man's statement that his bowels had not moved for forty days was no exaggeration.He was addicted to opium, which has a constipating effect. When he came to the hospital he was so weak that he was unable to walk and had to be carried. As a result of the toxic effect of this prolonged gastro-intestinal stasis his eyesight had become seriously impaired and there was a peculiar milky appearance of the cornea. Enemas were not effective and it was necessary to remove the fecal impactions manually. Following this procedure the patient was given daily cathartics

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