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July 17, 1937


Author Affiliations


From the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Therapeutics of the University of Illinois College of Medicine. Assisted by a grant from the American Pharmaceutical Association.

JAMA. 1937;109(3):200-203. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780290022006

E. C. Davidson's1 discovery of the life-saving qualities of the tannic acid crust therapy in the treatment of extensive burns has inaugurated a new era in the prognosis and treatment of such cases. Prior to that day, burns involving more than one third of the body surface were invariably fatal. Now, thanks to this treatment, lives are saved even when burns extend over more than one half of the body surface.

This outstanding success has led to two results, the one being an indiscriminate use of tannic acid in burns of all kinds and sizes, and the other to attempts at improvement of the original Davidson technic.

Before being in a position to form a judgment on either of these questions, one must have a clear mental picture of the reason for the results secured by the crusting of burns.

To explain the nothing less than marvelous lifesaving qualities of the tannic acid treatment of extensive burns, recourse must be had to the concept of "white bleeding," i. e., the loss of an excessive amount