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Septic peritonitis has been, and is now, to the surgeon, the practitioner of general medicine, as well as the obstetrician, a "word of fear." Forty years ago we groped in darkness as to its cause, and now we are about as helpless in its presence as to a curative remedy, as when the fathers practiced blood-letting with a free hand and gave cathartics in heroic doses, or, on the other hand, administered opium to narcotism, keeping the patient in this condition until the disease exhausted the patient or the patient wore out the disease. We are no longer in the dark as to the cause of septic peritonitis, and have made vast strides in the way of prevention, if not yet successful in the cure of the disease when fully formed. We have adopted the consensus of opinion of the best-informed pathologists, that practically all cases of peritonitis are caused
MAXWELL TJ. THE TREATMENT OF SEPTIC PERITONITIS BY IRRIGATION.. JAMA. 1898;XXXI(11):582-584. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.92450110024001h