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August 6, 1904


JAMA. 1904;XLIII(6):398-401. doi:10.1001/jama.1904.92500060001j

The currents and counter-currents of surgical opinion have nowhere better illustration than in the treatment of wounds. Through the warp and the woof of history there are continually appearing and disappearing, in the experience of the ages, many truths which have their demonstration only in this later day of crucial science. The Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, all used antiseptics, in varying degree of value. This we recognize in the balsams, vinous preparations, terebinthinates and mineral oils. More or less obscurely they also recognized the value of drainage and cleanliness in wounds.

After amputations, the application of boiling oil or the actual cautery served an admirable purpose for primary disinfection. To my mind, one of the greatest evidences of the genius and power of Ambroise Parélies quite as much in his overcoming of conservative prejudice against the introduction of the ligature as a hemostatic as to the value of the

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