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November 17, 1894


JAMA. 1894;XXIII(20):766. doi:10.1001/jama.1894.02421250028005

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Medical history informs us that upwards of nineteen hundred years ago, Erasistratus and others made inquiry into certain anatomic and physiologic questions by means of vivisection. Some two thousand condemned prisoners were dissected alive in the course of those novel and instructive experiments, and now in the nineteenth century comes Governor Flower, of New York, who is said to have granted permission not to destroy, but to save the lives of persons electrocuted.

It appears that under the present law providing for execution by electricity, a clause was included which provides that in all such cases a post-mortem examination shall be immediately made. Certain electricians have asserted with much positiveness that it was the necropsy which destroyed the criminal and not the electric current. To settle this question, if authoritatively raised, it has been suggested to his Excellency the Governor, that proper experiments to determine whether or not these victims

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