Doubt as to the entire harmlessness of tonsillectomy has been voiced frequently. The occasional occurrence of cases in which a new infection or the "lighting up" of an old one has followed suggestively close on the heels of tonsillectomy cannot be ignored. But there is almost no experimental proof of the relation between the two events.
A case in point is that of a girl recently admitted to the Children's Memorial Hospital. She had had a tonsillectomy done eleven days previously. The day following the operation she had an acute attack of severe abdominal pain, accompanied by fever and vomiting. Less severe pain persisted until the day of admission, when at operation a large appendical abscess was found. The facts are suggestive of a causal relation, but are certainly not conclusive.
We thought that some direct evidence bearing on similar occurrences might be obtained by investigating whether bacteremia sometimes follows