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September 17, 1904


Author Affiliations

CHICAGO.; From the Pathological Laboratory of the University of Chicago.

JAMA. 1904;XLIII(12):805-807. doi:10.1001/jama.1904.92500120002l

The opinion appears to exist that boric acid, even in large amounts, is entirely innocuous to the human body when applied externally to wounds, suppurating cavities, etc. That this is erroneous and that the surgeon must be on his guard against its too free usage, as it is not impossible for a fatal issue to ensue, is shown by the literature, in which five cases of severe intoxication and four deaths are reported in addition to the case at hand. These cases all resulted from the prolonged irrigation with saturated solutions of boric acid or the packing of large cavities with the dry powder.

Welch1 reports his experience in the treatment of lencorrhea, in which he packed the upper third of the vagina with boric acid, allowing it to remain until liquefied, usually two to three days. This was repeated every seventh day. In three cases intoxication resulted, and are

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