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October 6, 1900

The Kernel of Listerism.

Author Affiliations

Capt. and Asst.-Surgeon, U. S. Army.

JAMA. 1900;XXXV(14):895. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.02460400043014

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Fort Reno, Okla., Sept. 21, 1900.

To the Editor:  —Your editorial entitled "Pathologic Asepsis" on page 691 of The Journal of Sept. 15, 1900, helps to answer the query: What, after all, does the good residuum consist of when Listerism has been boiled down, filtered, and, in general, freed from all extraneous and worthless ingredients? That there will be a good residuum is beyond doubt. It has long been known that germs are necessary for digestion, for producing fermentation, and for bringing about useful decay of dead bodies, vegetable or animal. In other words they promote progress. The best garden-soil reeks with germs, poisonous and non-poisonous. Sterilized soil plus sterilized water will bring forth nothing, whether sown or not sown. Your editorial implies that, without the little organisms, wounds will not heal. In other words, life—for germs represent, and the word "germ" primarily means, life, or the first principle—is needed

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