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February 1948


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Duke University School of Medicine and Duke Hospital.

Am J Dis Child. 1948;75(2):135-142. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1948.02030020146001

CORROSIVE burns of the esophagus, secondary to ingestion of lye, constitute one of the most difficult. problems encountered in the pediatric service at Duke Hospital. The availability and the widespread use of this material account for the frequency of poisoning, especially in small children, despite the publicity regarding the dangers of its ingestion. Lye is commonly used by poor people as a cleansing agent, but caustic alkali also is present in washing powders, drainpipe cleaners and paint removers. Some persons do not realize until it is too late that

a solution of lye which will "eat the stains from the boiling kettle" will have a much direr effect on the oral or the esophageal mucosa. In the great majority of cases of lye poisoning that we have seen, the blame could be placed directly on the parents who carelessly left a solution of lye in a familiar container within the

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