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April 4, 1914


JAMA. 1914;LXII(14):1098-1099. doi:10.1001/jama.1914.02560390038023

Progressive medicine recognizes that among the most helpful aids to the advancement of the work of our profession are the critical analysis of errors, either in diagnosis or treatment, the frank discussion of mistakes, and the unremitting investigation of the reasons why procedures in current practice fail. For this reason we are interested in a recent review of inquests in England concerning deaths during anesthesia for the years 1910-1913, especially because it attracts attention to "the number of fatalities occurring with melancholy regularity" in different parts of the country. From the lay press accounts of coroner's inquests, Flemming1 has secured "only such portion of the pabulum as has managed to squeeze through the newspaper filter." The statistics are therefore far from complete and the nature of the anesthetic used has been ascertained in only 542 of the 700 deaths reported in connection with anesthesia. In no fewer than 521

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