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November 16, 1912

Suicide by Drinking a Solution of Salt

Author Affiliations

Greenville, Mich.

JAMA. 1912;LIX(20):1811-1812. doi:10.1001/jama.1912.04270110225021

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To the Editor:  —An editorial on "Poisoning from Common Salt" (The Journal, Oct. 5, 1012, p. 1297) speaks of the condition as a rare one. I wish to give my experience with several cases of fatal salt poisoning in China.Throughout Chekiang Province, and probably in other provinces of China, the drinking of a saturated solution of salt is a common mode of committing suicide, and there is none more difficult to treat. In only one case did I succeed in securing recovery. Salt is taken for suicidal purposes sometimes in a common saturated solution made with water as the solvent, and sometimes in the brine from salted kraut.Poisoning by salt usually presents a picture of high temperature and pulse, purging, vomiting and spasm. In the case in which I was successful in securing favorable results I washed the stomach with 2 quarts of a 1 per cent. solution