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June 6, 1953


Author Affiliations

North Chicago, Ill.
From the Plant Physician's Department, Abbott Laboratories.

JAMA. 1953;152(6):513-514. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.63690060001010

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X-ray diffraction apparatus is a valuable tool in ascertaining the molecular structure of many organic and inorganic compounds and will therefore probably find increasing use in large research laboratories. As with all x-ray equipment, burns may result if proper operating instructions are not followed. This is a report of several such injuries, occurring over a period of two years. Despite the severe local destruction of tissue and the protracted period of healing in each case, the true cause of the lesions was not suspected until one patient himself mentioned the possibility of x-rays as the cause.

Case 1.—  A 38-year-old physicist came to the dispensary complaining of soreness in the distal phalanx of the left little finger. He stated that he had run a small sliver of brass into the finger the day before, had extracted it himself, wiped the wound with alcohol, and continued with his work. He did

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