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August 13, 1892

ACUTE INTESTINAL OBSTRUCTION AND THE USE OF SALINE CATHARTICS FOR DIAGNOSTIC PURPOSES.Read by Title in the Section of Surgery and Anatomy, at the Forty-third Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association, held at Detroit, June, 1892.

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JAMA. 1892;XIX(7):177-178. doi:10.1001/jama.1892.02420070001001

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The diagnosis of a chronic intestinal obstruction can usually be determined by its clinical history and its symptoms with sufficient clearness, and in time for definite action. Acute intestinal obstruction is often sudden in its onset and obscure in its symptoms. Destructive local changes occur in a few hours, and grave constitutional complications develop with surprising rapidity.

A severe colic or an acute peritonitis may produce symptoms which strongly suggest intestinal obstruction. The three cardinal symptoms of obstruction of the bowels, nausea, pain and constipation, are present in each one of these three distinct diseases. The three conditions require widely different treatment. The pain and collapse of a severe colic, an obstruction, or of peritonitis, demands immediate relief, and we promptly and unhesitatingly resort to opium for its control. Opium arrests pain, allays vomiting and delays impending collapse. It so mitigates every symptom of colic, peritonitis or obstruction,-that the differential

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