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In exploring this field we must realize that we are more in the region of conjecture than fact, more in the domain of fancy than reality. The exciting cause must of necessity be obscure in a condition that obtains in the newborn during a period of from four to six hours to as many days, and appears without warning. Life in its beginning, like its end, is very feeble, and the slightest disturbing influence may endanger the one, or hasten the other.
The various causes laid down by the authorities on tetanus in the newly born are unsatisfactory, and every one is subject to negation; most notably they are injury to the cord and pressure upon the medulla oblongata. Is it traumatic? The wound of the umbilical cord does not seem to be sufficient; probably not in one case in ten thousand births is it found to exist. All have
WILLIAMS UV. TRISMUS NASCENTIUM.Read by Title in the Section of the Diseases of Children, at the Fortieth Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association, June, 1889.. JAMA. 1890;XIV(17):607–608. doi:10.1001/jama.1890.02410170015002b