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March 13, 1943


Author Affiliations


Dr. Lidbeck is the director of the laboratory and Dr. Hill assistant physician at the Oregon State Hospital; Dr. Beeman is a member of the Crime Detection Laboratory, Department of State Police, University of Oregon Medical School.

JAMA. 1943;121(11):826-827. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840110028011

The recent accidental ingestion of sodium fluoride at the Oregon State Hospital at Salem, Ore., resulted in the highest morbidity and mortality thus far reported in the medical literature from this particular poison. There were 263 cases, of which 47 terminated fatally following a meal of scrambled eggs. The identity of the poison was not established until approximately twenty-two hours had elapsed except that preliminary tests performed by Drs. F. R. Menne, N. A. David and H. J. Sears of the University of Oregon Medical School indicated a virulent poison in the stomach of some of the victims and in the scrambled eggs. When toxicologic examination revealed the presence of sodium fluoride, it was apparent that roach powder had been placed in the scrambled eggs served at the evening meal. Subsequent investigation disclosed that a patient helper had unwittingly mistaken roach powder for powdered milk and had added approximately 17