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December 1939


Arch Otolaryngol. 1939;30(6):950-972. doi:10.1001/archotol.1939.00650061029008

For many years meningitis has been accepted as one of the complications of purulent disease of the middle ear, and it is one of the most dreaded complications which may follow any surgical procedure. Since a really scientific interpretation of disease of the middle ear and mastoid has been recognized, attempts at treatment and cure of meningitis have been pathetically disappointing. The entire gamut of surgical, medical and chemical procedures has been tried, and temporary enthusiasm has given way to extreme pessimism as statistics showed that no progress was being made. The one exception is that radical surgical intervention plus spinal drainage seemed to give a few cures, extremely few on the basis of percentage. Gray surveyed the literature from 1901 to 1935 and collected 2,200 cases of otitic meningitis with only 66 recoveries, a mortality of 97 per cent. Neal, in the New York Department of Health, collected 2,200

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