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July 23, 1973

Scorpion Stings and Spark Plug Shocks

JAMA. 1973;225(4):419. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220310053026

To the Editor.—  While we appreciate that the Editor was jesting in the matter of "Scorpion Sting Treatment" (224:527, 1973), using a spark plug shock (223:693, 1973), we feel that quite aside from the fact this bit of folklore dates back at least three decades (early joke: 12v is twice as good as 6; best results are obtained with one foot on the ground; Fords are better than Chevys) and is a worthless procedure, the obviously earnest inquiry of Dr. McIver (224:527, 1973) reflects the concern that many physicians must have entertained on reading the original note. Aside from the fact that it does not work for stings by American scorpions, we must condemn the use of this folk measure in stings by lethal scorpions, particularly in children, on the basis that it may increase muscle fasiculations in near-tetanized fibers, increase neuromuscular hyperirritability, and provoke convulsions, particularly if the patient