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June 4, 1960


Author Affiliations

P. O. Box 9 Val David, Quebec.

JAMA. 1960;173(5):576. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020230102032

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To the Editor:—  With reference to the effects of alcohol used as an antiseptic on the alcohol content of the blood, Dr. Heise, in The Journal, March 12, page 1197, agrees with Dr. Beeman that "alcohol... should not be used when blood alcohol tests are made," but the reason given is that "this procedure would cause needless arguments in court." May I point out that this reason is entirely beside the point? Far more important than "needless arguments" are morality and justice.I have found 0.2% or more alcohol in blood entirely as a result of alcohol used to sterilize the skin (Am. J. Med. Jurisprudence2:261 [July] 1939; Canad. Bar Rev.26:1437 [Dec.] 1948). The question of whether the alcohol entered into the blood because the syringe had been rinsed with alcohol to withdraw the blood or for some other reason is of purely academic interest. The

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