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January 24, 1959


Author Affiliations

New York

From the Memorial Center for Cancer and Allied Diseases.

JAMA. 1959;169(4):343-345. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.73000210001009

Recently reports have appeared in the literature of an alarming increase in hospital infections, many of which are antibiotic resistant and presumably acquired after a patient's admission to the hospital. This is a serious indictment of present-day indiscriminate antibiotic therapy and of our hospitals. Many comprehensive investigations have been conducted in the wards and operating rooms to ascertain the cause of such infections. However, none of these studies has considered the endotracheal tube as a primary source of infection. As a part of the study of wound infections in the Memorial Center for Cancer and Allied Diseases, we undertook to determine if anesthetization equipment, and especially the endotracheal tube, might be a factor in nosocomial infections.

Methods  Initially, we planned to study the anesthetization apparatus as well as the endotracheal tube. However, since the pilot study revealed only common airborne saprophytes from the machine and its parts, the study was focused