Numerous stories of the case presented below have appeared in the domestic and foreign press. This case has been cited also on two occasions in the medical literature, through personal communications.1 While all of these descriptions have been basically factual, they sound so unbelievable that a reasonably detailed report for medical publication is indicated. So much local publicity was given that for some time attending physicians were considered negligent by the families of patients who died from cardiac conditions because thoracotomy and cardiac massage was not done.
Report of a Case
A male, aged 24, apparently in perfect health, as a naval officer had passed a separation examination in June, 1954, and had passed a life insurance examination in October, 1954. On Dec. 17, 1954, at approximately 1 p. m. he was developing x-ray films in the darkroom at Lutheran Deaconess Hospital. Two fellow technicians were also present. He
Brown CD, Knudson J, Schroeder GF. CARDIAC ARREST AT WORK-PENKNIFE THORACTOMY WITH RECOVERY. JAMA. 1957;163(5):352–353. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.82970400001009
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