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August 29, 1896

A NEW MEDICO-LEGAL QUESTION.

JAMA. 1896;XXVII(9):495-496. doi:10.1001/jama.1896.02430870043004

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Abstract

The highest criminal court of the city and district of Magdeburg, Germany, in May last, decided a case that is entirely new in medical jurisprudence.

The defendant, Dr. Hirschfeld, treated a case of serous inflammation of the cellular tissue of the arm which resulted in septicemia and death, without any spirits or supporting wines. When the case became serious it was sent to the hospital and death followed. Dr. Boehm, a member of the medical council and hospital, accused Dr. Hirschfeld of neglect of proper treatment in keeping the patient on what he called "a cold liquid diet, " rather than the strongest wines, and most nourishing foods. The court charge was acceleration of death, or homicide by negligence, in not using spirits freely. Dr. Hirschfeld was permitted to present a scientific defense of his treatment of the case. He asserted that in his long experience he had never used any

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