From time to time there have appeared in the medical press a number of papers analyzing the causes of death following operations on the gallbladder and ducts. In a recent contribution by E. M. Stanton, 500 fatal cases were analyzed in a combined series of approximately 10,000 gallbladder operations. Even on casual reading one is impressed with the number of ascribed causes of death in this series wherein over thirty-eight individual causes were designated as the lethal factor. The causes of death given in the order of their frequency were peritonitis, pneumonia, embolism, cardiac failure, spontaneous perforation, sepsis and renal failure. It is rather surprising that so-called shock and hemorrhage constituted 10 per cent of the fatal cases.
In analyzing our mortalities at the New York Post-Graduate Hospital we were impressed with a small group of fatal cases in which the cause of death could in no way be placed