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January 22, 1916


Author Affiliations

Nicholas Senn Fellow in Surgery, Rush Medical College CHICAGO

From the Departments of Surgery of Rush Medical College and of the Presbyterian Hospital.

JAMA. 1916;LXVI(4):252-255. doi:10.1001/jama.1916.02580300020006

Because of their knowledge of the depressing influence of morphin on general metabolism, many surgeons have been inclined to blame its use for a long list of disorders appearing in the course of and following on operations, especially operations done under general anesthesia. With the object of testing the reasonableness of this idea, a study was made of the records of 469 patients operated on in the Presbyterian Hospital and of the immunity curves (opsonic and lytic) of a series of morphinized animals. Particular attention was directed to the possible relationship of morphin to postoperative shock, postoperative ileus (paralytic), postoperative acute dilatation of the stomach, postoperative retention of urine, and immunity.

Physiologists have been unable to explain adequately the mechanism of shock.1 Among clinicians, surgical shock is usually defined as a condition of depression following painful injury or strong mental emotion, the symptoms varying from a slight feeling of