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March 1941


Author Affiliations

From the Cook County Hospital and the Department of Surgery, University of Illinois College of Medicine.

Arch Surg. 1941;42(3):581-597. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1941.01210090130012

The rather voluminous literature on intestinal obstruction has in recent years undergone a great change. Only a few years ago, Fred T. Murphy said in Ochsner's "Surgical Diagnosis and Treatment:"1 "For a mechanical obstruction of the bowel, there is no other logical treatment than operation for the relief of the obstruction." The recent literature, however, has shown what a great mistake this was and attests the splendid results obtained by the use of peroral suction of the upper portion of the intestinal tract. The teachings of Wangensteen,2 Johnston3 and many others are now so well established and have been confirmed in so many clinics that one must accept them; they require no further proof. Nevertheless, in almost every article dealing with the "conservative" treatment of intestinal obstructions one finds the statement that this is not to be used as a complete substitute for the operative treatment. Wangensteen

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