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December 15, 1945


JAMA. 1945;129(16):1094-1095. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.92860500004007a

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Fetor from intestinal and urinary fistulas or from incontinence, suppurating wounds, necrotic tumors or gangrene permeates the room or ward, to the great distress of other patients and the disgust of attendants and visitors. The odor clings to the clothing of those in the room, surrounds the diet tray and renders the food unpalatable, and seeps through the corridors of the hospital, suggesting that even modern hospitals have characteristically unpleasant odors. How often, as one passes down the hall, is one conscious that the patient in room 27 is either incontinent or has a urinary fistula, while the odor in the vicinity of 36 indicates that the occupant has a colostomy. In a distant, sterile operating room one may suddenly realize that a patient with an extensive burn has been brought to the floor for skin grafting. Even on opening the front door of a

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