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February 1962

Slaves to Antimicrobials

Arch Otolaryngol. 1962;75(2):95-96. doi:10.1001/archotol.1962.00740040101002

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Even in so-called "clean" surgery, the patient automatically gets some type of antimicrobial medication by mouth or injection, often without a stop order. A few days later, the patient may ask the doctor how much longer must the punctures and/or pills be taken. An answer might be no easier than the answer to WHY the medication. Ostensibly, it is to prevent postoperative infection; but what type of infection is being prevented, or just what determines the particular medication? Even more vague would be the answer to the question: "What do you think would happen if no antimicrobial drug were used in connection with clean otologic surgery?"

For those of us who are just as persistent in not using these anti-infection medicines routinely, it is pleasantly revealing to note how infrequently infection occurs in the postoperative field of "clean" otologic cases. Even in the infected case, as mastoiditis, local instillation of

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