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March 12, 1927


JAMA. 1927;88(11):841-842. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02680370069010

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Occasionally the world is startled when, by some fortuitous circumstance, death comes suddenly to human beings. Chicago has recently provided two such instances of medical importance. A landlord used cyanic gas to fumigate a vacant apartment. A mother and baby sleeping in the apartment above died of the inhalation, and the landlord, in his grief, committed suicide. In a hospital, through a confusion of technic among three nurses, infants in the nursery were apparently given boric acid solution instead of drinking water and six died. Probably such an accident will not happen soon, if ever again. But as long as there are human beings handling devices or drugs of possible danger, accidents will occur.

New interest is created for the moment in the potentialities of boric acid as a poison. Compared with phenol, cresol or mercury preparations, it is relatively nonpoisonous. Cases are recorded, however, of the death, even of

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