Numerous theories have been suggested to account for the toxemia of intestinal obstruction. Many investigators, among them Murphy and Vincent,1 Brooks and his co-workers,2 Dragstedt,3 Dragstedt and Moorhead4 and Badile,5 have submitted evidence for the bacterial origin of the toxin in the contents of the obstructed bowel, but definite proof of the exact nature of the lethal agent has not been established.
The hypothesis was recently advanced by Williams6 that the toxin of Bacillus welchii is the specific agent. This communication focused attention on an organism well known for its ability to produce a powerful exotoxin. Williams presented evidence to support the theory that this anaerobe proliferates rapidly in the stagnant contents of the obstructed small intestine and called attention to the marked similarity between the systemic manifestations of acute intestinal obstruction and of gas gangrene. Experimental and clinical evidence was submitted to support