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January 15, 1898


JAMA. 1898;XXX(3):155-156. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.02440550043007

Prout's words that "Diabetic patients constantly live on the brink of a precipice," are especially applicable to the most dreaded of all the complications of diabetes, namely, the coma characteristic of that disease.

In a recent lecture Thomas B. Futcher1 reviews the etiology, symptoms and treatment of diabetic coma. True diabetic coma was, it will be remembered, first accurately described in 1874 by Kussmaul. The frequency of the complication is shown in the collection of fatal cases by Stephen Mackenzie from the London Hospital, in that all the cases under twenty-five, with one exception, died of coma. Of 400 cases studied by Frerichs 250 died, and coma was the cause of death in 150 instances. Of the 39 cases treated in the Johns Hopkins Hospital 15 died, and in 12 death was produced by coma.

Young people, particularly children, are more liable to die of coma than are older