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July 1959

Postoperative Wound Infections

AMA Arch Surg. 1959;79(1):141-143. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1959.04320070145023

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Judging from current literature and discussions at medical meetings, postoperative wound infections are becoming of sufficient frequency and seriousness to justify everyone's attention. Altemeier in his recent report to the Governors of the College of Surgeons covered the subject very completely. He decried the widespread use of antibiotics for conditions for which they have been proved to be of no specific value. The common cold, I believe, is one of the best examples. Prophylactic use of antibiotics in clean surgical cases should be discontinued.

All hospitals should have a committee to investigate means of prevention as well as to investigate wound infections when they occur. It is better to prevent such infections by rigid observation of recognized methods than it is to try and eradicate such antibiotic-resistant bacteria from hospitals once they have become firmly entrenched.

It seems generally agreed that the increased incidence of infection has resulted from increasing

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