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October 27, 1962

The Diagnosis and Treatment of Acute Poisoning

JAMA. 1962;182(4):505. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050430179036

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The large number of toxic agents accessible today to the general public manifestly complicates the physician's task of treating patients who present as victims of poisoning. The agents run the gamut from poisonous plants and "venomous creatures" through the familiar carbon monoxide, sedatives, and ethyl alcohol, to the increasingly occurring radiation effects. Though this book is not a toxicology text, it includes clinical information on hundreds of nonmedicinal products and over 1,000 proprietary preparations of drugs containing a toxic component.

The author regards poisoning as a preventable medical problem, the incidence of which has nevertheless risen in recent years (though mortality from this cause has declined in the United States). Particularly noteworthy is the increased incidence of attempted suicide. Barbiturates, salicylates, carbon monoxide, and ethyl alcohol surpass all other agents by which either accidental or suicidal poisoning occurs: therefore, highly detailed discussions of these materials are presented.

The medical emergencies

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