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November 13, 1915


JAMA. 1915;LXV(20):1735-1736. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02580200049020

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The advent of a new and manifestly important technic in the field of clinical medicine or surgery almost presupposes a careful experimental study of its scientific aspects. Modern spinal anesthesia belongs to this category. There is a large literature already available on the clinical aspects of this type of procedure, its successes and limitations, and its advantages and disadvantages. Nevertheless the data on the fundamental responses of the organism to spinal anesthesia and their interpretation under conditions of rigid scientific critique are surprisingly meager. The situation is excellently summarized as follows: "The dangers and discomforts of ether anesthesia have long been recognized. Inevitable nausea, possible pneumonia, difficult respiration, renal injuries, make ether anesthesia impossible in certain cases, dangerous in others, and distressing in all. To meet these difficulties, spinal anesthesia was devised for use in fields where general anesthesia is superfluous, such as operations on the perineum. As a rule

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