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December 3, 1932


Author Affiliations

San Francisco Director of Public Health

JAMA. 1932;99(23):1944-1945. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.27410750004012d

A few minutes before 3 o'clock on the afternoon of July 26, 1932, three men were brought by ambulance to the Central Emergency Hospital, all in coma and showing signs of cyanosis. They had collapsed, less than fifteen minutes previously, immediately after taking a drink of liquor in the office of one of the three (L. J.). Treatment, consisting of gastric lavage, artificial respiration and cardiorespiratory stimulants, was begun immediately. Death occurred in all three instances, the result of cyanide poisoning.

Case 1.  —J. L., a traffic officer, was comatose when he arrived at the hospital. There was cyanosis of the face, neck and hands; dilated pupils, white froth about the lips, and incontinence of urine. There were no convulsions. The pulse was imperceptible; the respiration, shallow and slow. Artificial respiration and oxygen inhalation (tubal) and gastric lavage (sodium bicarbonate solution) were administered, and caffeine sodiobenzoate (0.5 Gm. subcutaneously) and