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November 30, 1901

A CASE OF BLINDNESS FROM DRINKING BAY RUM, COMPARED WITH THE REPORTED CASES DUE TO METHYL ALCOHOL AND TO ESSENCE OF JAMAICA GINGER, ETC.

Author Affiliations

OCULIST AND AURIST TO BELLE POINT HOSPITAL. FORT SMITH, ARK.

JAMA. 1901;XXXVII(22):1447-1451. doi:10.1001/jama.1901.62470480017002d
Abstract

For some time the idea has been entertained that wood alcohol is the toxic agent in cases of amblyopia following the drinking of essence of Jamaica ginger and similar preparations. Dr. Hiram Woods thought of, but seems to have rejected the idea which Dr. Jackson more lately advocates. †

We will remember that reports of these cases began to appear nearly at the same time with reports of the cases due to wood alcohol. While bay rum and various essences have been long used as substitutes for whisky in prohibitory districts without accident, there have recently occurred several fatalities. I personally know this fact to apply in the Indian Territory, where the United States prohibition is very rigid. Within a year or two there have been several deaths in that country from drinking these things as well as wood alcohol. Ordinary wood alcohol has a characteristic odor and taste so

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