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February 1924


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and the Medical Clinic, Cincinnati General Hospital.

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1924;33(2):224-229. doi:10.1001/archinte.1924.00110260070006

The most trying group of poisoned patients encountered at a general hospital is the group that has taken mercuric chlorid. It is taken with suicidal intent in over 90 per cent. of the instances, and the vast majority of the group are young women. The accidental poisonings are infrequent, and occur when a tablet is taken by mistake for a coal tar or other preparation. Occasionally, the patient who has used the solid tablet in the vagina will present herself. Once a child who had swallowed the mercury from a broken thermometer came under treatment. For the most part, the poison is taken by mouth, usually by swallowing the tablets, and occasionally by dissolving them in water before swallowing. One patient ate some diluted mercurial ointment, and another drank a 1 : 10 mercuric chlorid solution which she obtained in a hospital.

When the mercury, even in tablet form, enters

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