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June 1964


Arch Intern Med. 1964;113(6):900-902. doi:10.1001/archinte.1964.00280120100025

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The subject of fainting, which many people brush off cavalierly as of little more consequence than a quaint item to supply a bit of literary machinery dear to the heart of Victorian novelists, is of real medical importance. Fortunately it has been the subject of much more intelligent investigation in the recent past than in earlier days. Anyone who has fainted or for that matter nearly fainted has a very different view of the importance of the subject. Furthermore, fainting has important bearings on the problems of instant, sudden, or unexpected death. Sleep, a more orthodox and customary relative of fainting, brings unconsciousness more slowly and gives us a less somber preview of death. In addition to the light which a critical analysis of fainting may cast upon the phenomenology of dying and death, it has other connections with vital aspects of psychological and emotional functions which lie at the

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