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    Wednesday, August 01, 2007

    Days Gone By: From JAMA's "100 Years Ago" feature, a description of gas gangrene contracted in the Phillipines after a canon wound:

    On the second day multiple incisions were made with the object of evacuating pus. On introducing the hypodermic needle to inject cocaine for local anesthesia the pressure within very promptly forced the piston of the syringe back, filling the barrel of the syringe with gas. On withdrawing the needle the gas sizzed out of the tissues.

    He survived after an amputation of the gaseous arm. His companion in arms was not so lucky, in treatment nor outcome:

    Hot local applications and rectal injections of strong coffee were administered during the night. On the following morning the patient's condition was bad, with no return of circulation in the leg.

    Amputation above the knee-joint was decided on....The patient succumbed at the commencement of the operation.


    What do you suppose those strong coffee enemas were meant to do? flush the toxin from the body? It's a belief that still has its subscribers. Now as then, coffee is better taken per os than per rectum.
     

    posted by Sydney on 8/01/2007 08:17:00 PM 2 comments

    2 Comments:

    During the Battle of Midway, the Japanese bombed the island. Navy pharmacist's mate E. B. Miller, sweating out the attack in a bunker, decided to use the time to brew a "Murphy drip": a pot of extremely (indeed, undrinkably) strong coffee, "used rectally in treating shock", according to historian Walter Lord.

    By Blogger Rich Rostrom, at 12:52 AM  

    In the days before IV fluids, when a person could not drink, they gave fluids per rectum.

    Heck, I remember when we gave chloral hydrate enemas for DT's.

    Caffiene is used in infections to give the person energy and alertness...and indeed, old books recommended IM injections as a treatment for pneumonia. Did it work by stimulation or by relieving bronchospasm? Who knows?

    By Blogger boinky, at 9:29 PM  

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