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September 22, 1951


Author Affiliations

Montefiore Hospital, Pittsburgh.

JAMA. 1951;147(4):340. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670210052021

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To the Editor:  —We read your stimulating editorial on "Acute Phosphorus Poisoning" in The Journal, June 2, 1951 (page 478), with great interest. In bringing the subject of phosphorus poisoning to the attention of the medical profession, there is one practical point which we have encountered (Gastroenterology 17:279 [Feb.] 1951) and feel should be emphasized. This is the latent period or so-called period of quiescence. It is a variable interval of time during which there is a subsidence of symptoms between the original gastrointestinal symptoms and the appearance of systemic complaints. The former symptoms are thought to be due to direct irritation of the gut by the phosphorus, while the later complaints are attributed to the building up of high concentrations of phosphorus in the vital organs. This period of remission may lull the physician into a false sense of security so that he discharges the patient as fully recovered,

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