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February 25, 1899


Author Affiliations

Professor of Ophthalmology and Otology, Central Medical College; Oculist and Aurist to Home of Little Wanderers. ST. JOSEPH, MO.

JAMA. 1899;XXXII(8):407-408. doi:10.1001/jama.1899.92450350011002b

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Thanks to antiseptic and aseptic treatment, we are now pretty well enabled to eliminate wound infection. Still, there are parts of the body, chiefly cavities, where, even with the greatest care and most rigorous asepsis, this can not be accomplished. Then, too, there occur wounds that become badly infected before the physician is able to see them. What should be done in such instances?

Antisepsis is certainly not the principal thing, though we do not care to entirely deny its usefulness. It must be borne in mind, however, that antiseptics are, as a rule, severe tissue irritants and only help to increase the discharge, which, in itself, opposes healing. Furthermore, in many cavities the application of antiseptics would be an actual menace to life, by absorption. What, under these conditions, is the most vital point? Drainage, no doubt.

We know that the dangers of local infection are twofold: 1, irritation

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