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October 11, 1941

HISTORY OF COCAINE AS A LOCAL ANESTHETIC

Author Affiliations

St. Louis.

JAMA. 1941;117(15):1284. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820410062031

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Abstract

To the Editor:—  In the history of anesthesia, the discovery of the application of cocaine as a local anesthetic by Carl Koller has always seemed to be the one chapter free from acrimoniously disputatious conflict. The following is a letter from Dr. Koller of New York:My dear Dr. Seelig:I happened yesterday to read your article in the Howard Lilienthal dedicatory volume on the Progress of Medicine in the Last Hundred Years, and admired its broad sweep and inspired language. Coming to the passage dealing with anesthesia, I could not help being pained by your adopting the incorrect statements, not of Freud himself but of his admirers and hangers-on, that Freud had anything to do with starting cocaine as a local anesthetic in surgery.Freud has stated the facts correctly in his Autobiography, but in such ambiguous language that his enthusiastic admirers claimed for him what was not according

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