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June 17, 1905


Author Affiliations

Surgeon U. S. Navy, Naval Medical School. WASHINGTON, D. C.

JAMA. 1905;XLIV(24):1930. doi:10.1001/jama.1905.92500510036003

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The approach of the Fourth of July and the interesting editorial in The Journal, June 10, on the treatment of tetanus prompt me to submit a brief history of a patient operated on by me in Gouverneur Hospital, New York City, in the fall of 1885. The case was fully reported in a paper read before the Society of the Alumni of Bellevue Hospital shortly afterward, and was, in fact, among that society's earliest papers.

It was my belief at that time that tetanus was due to a peculiar type of infection in wounds, and that the result of the infection was an "irritation" to the nerve filaments supplied to the wound, and that this "irritation" was carried through the nerves to the cord, which, in turn, manifested the extent of transmitted "irritation" by the character of the tetanic convulsions developed. The discovery of the tetanus bacillus by Nicolaier in 1884 was not known to me at that time.

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