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June 25, 1938


Author Affiliations


From the George Washington University School of Medicine and Sibley Hospital.

JAMA. 1938;110(26):2145-2148. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.02790260019007

During the past few years many new methods have been introduced for the relief of pain during labor, their introduction being based on the belief (in which we concur) that analgesia and anesthesia should form just as necessary and as important a part in the proper management of obstetric cases as they do in surgical cases. However, any method used for the purpose must be carefully considered as to its relative efficiency and safety for both mother and child.

We have found that paraldehyde is an efficient obstetric analgesia-amnesia producing agent with a low toxicity and that when failures have occurred they have usually been due to insufficient dosage or improper technic. Toxic effects have rarely occurred, and these have appeared when the patient had an idiosyncrasy to the drug.

In the fatal case reported in this paper there was unusual susceptibility to paraldehyde. The hypersusceptibility was regarded as being