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July 1949

BLAST INJURIES TO THE EAR: The Texas City Disaster

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Texas Medical Branch.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1949;50(1):1-8. doi:10.1001/archotol.1949.00700010008001

THE BLAST, explosion and subsequent fire at Texas City was a catastrophic event, which only those present can fully picture. An ordinary industrial area was suddenly transformed into a city of tremendous havoc and destruction. Numerous reports in the press and a few in the medical literature attested to the magnitude of the disaster. It has been estimated, reliably, that between 3,000 and 4,000 people were injured. The most accurate sources report that approximately 600 persons were killed or reported missing as a result of an incident that took place in the course of a very few minutes. About 800 persons received injuries which were of sufficient severity to require hospitalization in Galveston and the surrounding communities. Four hundred of these were admitted to the John Sealy and affiliated hospitals of the University of Texas Medical Branch within twelve hours. Of this group only a very small percentage were admitted

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