Deaths during or following surgical operations occur under three conditions: (1) from causes entirely independent of the anesthetic; (2) from causes to which the anesthetic contributes, and (3) solely from the anesthetic.
I. THE FATALITY ENTIRELY INDEPENDENT OF THE ANESTHETIC
Deaths of this class, in order of their frequency, are most often due to: (a) peritonitis, (b) septicemia, (e) pulmonary, cardiac or cerebral embolism, (d) hemorrhage. In such cases, the influence of the anesthetic need not be considered.
II. THE ANESTHETIC CONTRIBUTING TO THE FATALITY
These deaths, in order of their frequency, are most often due to: (a) shock, (b) pneumonia, (c) nephritis, (d) endocarditis or myocarditis, (e) suffocation from inspired vomitus. When a patient, organically diseased, dies during or following the administration of an anesthetic, or when the anesthetic indirectly induces the lesion which is the cause of death, the anesthetic is a contributing cause of the fatality. If
MILLER AH. POSTOPERATIVE MORTALITY FROM ANESTHETICS: THE RECORDED DEATH-RATE FROM ETHYL CHLORID. JAMA. 1912;LIX(21):1847–1848. doi:10.1001/jama.1912.04270110261004
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