October 1954

Eleven Blue Men and Other Narratives of Medical Detection.

Author Affiliations

By Berton Roueché. Price, $3.50. Pp. 215. Little, Brown & Company, 34 Beacon St., Boston 6, 1954.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1954;88(4):554. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1954.02050100556013

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


The title of this book keeps one curious until he reads that 11 sick men, all with a blue color, entered a hospital within an hour or two. The cause of the color was sodium nitrite, accidentally used instead of table salt.

Eleven other cases are discussed. These include trichinosis, gout, an outbreak of typhoid, a rare rickettsial occurrence, smallpox, leprosy, tetanus in drug addicts caused by "cutting" heroin for resale, botulism, the illnesses caused by the smog or fog in Pennsylvania, and a discussion of antibiotics.

Each case was obscured by circumstances that required acute detective work by both diagnostician and research men to locate the source and cause of the infection.

The author listened to the accounts of the doctors and investigators and has retold their story as only a superb writer can do. With cases like leprosy, typhoid, and ricketts, he inserts the history of the disease

First Page Preview View Large
First page PDF preview
First page PDF preview