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July 21, 1900


JAMA. 1900;XXXV(3):168. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.02460290038014

That carbolic acid, applied externally in weak solutions, may cause gangrene of parts of extremities has been known for something like thirty years, but unfortunately this knowledge is not general, either among the lay or medical public. Harrington's article1 on this subject is therefore a timely and also a valuable one. The cases he reports, added to those recorded in the literature, make a total of 132 examples; and Harrington thinks it probable that many hundreds of fingers have been destroyed from this cause. The popularization of carbolic acid as a household remedy for the treatment of small wounds and bruises is undoubtedly largely responsible for many such results, but in not a few cases the treatment has been instituted at the suggestion of physicians, and, we doubt not, by the advice of druggists as well. "An aqueous solution of carbolic acid (1 to 5 per cent.), if applied