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JAMA 100 Years Ago
November 4, 1998


JAMA. 1998;280(17):1478G. doi:10.1001/jama.280.17.1478
Chloroform and Gaslight Intoxication.

To the Editor:— A note under the above title, in the JOURNAL of October 22, suggests a degree of ignorance or carelessness on the part of the doctors responsible for the occurrence, which I hope is, but may not be, entirely absent from the profession in this country. At any rate, it seems to me to be of sufficient importance to justify a further notice. The case is as follows: A patient was anesthetized with chloroform in the presence of a gaslight. The narcosis lasted three hours and during that time the doctors and nurse experienced a spasmodic cough. Patient died in six hours, the nurse in twenty-four hours and the doctor was "at the point of death" for two or three days. The fatal results were attributed to the inhalation of the fumes produced from the combustion of the vapor of chloroform in the gas jet. The products of the combustion of chloroform are chlorin and hydrochloric and carbonic acid.

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