April 12, 1902


JAMA. 1902;XXXVIII(15):945. doi:10.1001/jama.1902.02480150039008

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The perils of only the most trivial injuries in surgery are well emphasized by the recent death of Dr. Middleton of Davenport, Iowa, referred to in our obituary columns, and the very critical condition of the surgeon who assisted him in the operation. In neither case was the wound which caused the septicemia more than barely noticeable. Even the least abrasion may be fatal with specially virulent infections and one can never be sure that he is not in the presence of such in an operation. In this instance the condition of the operator's system can hardly be credited with much influence as a factor. Both operators became infected and the rapidly fatal progress in one and the threatening condition in the other indicate that it was the special nature of the poison that was alone effective. Surgeons run so many chances without injury that they are liable to forget

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