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To the Editor:—
I wish to take exception to a clinical note that appeared in The Journal, February 19, page 526, and that attributes the death of a patient to a (possibly intravenous) injection of penicillin. The author of the note, George L. Waldbott, believes that his patient's death was due to anaphylactic shock caused by the intravenously administered penicillin.Unfortunately, an autopsy was not performed; moreover, it is to be lamented that the patient's mouth was not opened, because, in my opinion, the case looks much like one of "edema of the glottis" as manifestation of an angioneurotic reaction. In fact, the signs and symptoms described by Waldbott may well be due to edema of the glottis ("tightness" in the nose and throat, cyanosis, itching "all over"—probably first manifestation of a generalized urticaria) and not to anaphylactic shock. Incidentally, this side effect of treatment with penicillin (especially with the
Salomon MI. ANAPHYLAXIS TO PENICILLIN. JAMA. 1949;140(1):125. doi:10.1001/jama.1949.02900360127022