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May 18, 1901


JAMA. 1901;XXXVI(20):1403. doi:10.1001/jama.1901.02470200043012

All surgeons of experience will have observed, and all readers of medical literature will be familiar with the fact, that not infrequently operative intervention is attended with results of a successful nature that can not be attributed directly to the measures practiced—in fact, sometimes only the preliminary steps are taken—but must be ascribed to some obscure action arising out of the exposure to light and air and other physical and mechanical influences; or else they must be considered coincidental. That such results are merely coincidental would seem negatived by the frequency of their occurrence; and for the present we must accept the fact and await the explanation. Perhaps the most conspicuous illustration of the condition under discussion is the subsidence of the symptoms of tuberculous peritonitis after abdominal section, with or without considerable manipulation of the serous membrane or irrigation of the abdominal cavity. In the same way, after operations

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