Shortly after the introduction of cocain as a local anesthetic, Dr. J. Leonard Corning, of New York, demonstrated that it was possible, under its influence, to remove large tumors and perform amputations. Continuing his researches, he developed, in 1885, a method of injecting the drug into the vertebral canal between the spinous processes where it "should become absorbed by the minute plexuses of veins and so carried to the cord." Quite recently, Professor Bier, of Kiel, has advanced one step in this practice and deposited a solution of cocain within the subarachnoid space. His example was speedily followed by Oberst, Seldovitch and other European surgeons, and, above all, by Tuffier.
This practice is now extending to the United States and other countries. Various reports have been published, narrating its successful application in major operations involving the lower extremities, genital organs and abdominal cavity. Anesthesia ensues within five to ten minutes
SHOEMAKER JV. THE DANGER OF SPINAL ANESTHESIA. JAMA. 1900;XXXV(21):1339–1340. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.24620470029001i
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