The management of burns has long presented problems of unexplained complexity to the physician. Burns are attended with certain superficial and obvious conditions that have been treated empirically. Thus, Osborne1 summarizes the primary considerations in the treatment to include the allaying of pain, the superficial protection of the skin and burned areas, the prevention of infection, and the promotion of healing. Experience has taught the medical profession, however, that burns may involve something far more serious than is implied by the features to which reference has just been made. Death often intervenes unexpectedly; and there may be serious internal disturbances involving various organs far removed from the seat of injury. Hence there has developed a theory that toxins of some sort are formed at the seat of the burn and may be absorbed with untoward consequences.
It is the merit of Underhill and his co-workers2 at the Yale