October 16, 1954


JAMA. 1954;156(7):722-723. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02950070050012

Owing to a better understanding of the treatment of shock and especially of fluid and electrolyte balance, deaths in the first two days after severe burns are becoming rare, but many patients with such burns still die 5 to 10 days after injury. Reiss and Artz1 believe the cause of these deaths is septicemia rather than toxemia due to the absorption of the degeneration products of necrotic tissues. Certainly one of the chief problems in treating severe burns is the control of infection. Even though the infection may not kill the patient, it frequently causes death of the skin graft, thereby adding to the patient's suffering and to the period of his incapacity.2 Most of these infections are caused by the gram-negative microorganisms against which no effective antibiotics are yet available and antibiotic-resistant gram-positive staphylococci. Both types of organism seem to flourish in an environment from which treatment

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