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April 29, 1950


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Anesthesiology, Marquette University School of Medicine, and senior consultant in anesthesiology, United States Veterans Administration Hospital.

JAMA. 1950;142(17):1344-1348. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02910350014005

The use of curare in clinical medicine has become widespread. It has become especially useful in anesthesiology for augmenting relaxation during surgical operations and in psychiatry for softening the convulsions of shock therapy. Up to the present time a few scattered reports of fatalities following the use of curare have appeared in the literature. In some of these fatalities the administrator has been at fault in that proper artificial respiration was not employed after respiratory arrest. Writers have stressed the dangers of apnea subsequent to curarization and have emphasized the methods of prevention. However, some of the deaths following the use of curare may be due to a side action of the drug and may not be preventable by present methods of treatment. In this type of accident artificial respiration with a good airway and other resuscitative measures are carried out correctly to no avail. This paper will report 3