So much has been written of late concerning the safety of nitrous oxid-oxygen anesthesia that it seems to me a note of warning ought to be sounded as to the dangers and difficulties of administration, so that an anesthetic agent as valuable as nitrous oxid should not fall into disrepute. Despite the assertions of the nitrous oxid manufacturers and the exploiters of the machines, nitrous oxid-oxygen is not the safest anesthetic in the generally accepted sense of the word. Outside of dental work or momentary anesthesias it is not nearly so safe in the hands of the inexperienced as is ether. The margin of safety between surgical anesthesia and death is much larger in an ether than in a gas-oxygen anesthesia, and I therefore believe that if nitrous oxid were used as extensively by the inexperienced as is ether, the immediate operative mortality would be higher.
I wish to add
SALZER M. NITROUS OXID-OXYGEN ANESTHESIA WITH REPORT OF A FATAL CASE. JAMA. 1912;LIX(21):1872-1873. doi:10.1001/jama.1912.04270110286011