Since September 1942, when Edwards and Hingson1 published the first report on continuous caudal anesthesia in obstetrics, there has been great optimism in both medical and lay literature, hailing it the ideal analgesic and anesthetic for labor and delivery. The method of Edwards and Hingson has been tried successfully by many of the larger obstetric clinics, and their excellent results have been duplicated. By this time almost 1,000 cases have been reported without a maternal anesthetic death.
Despite this, many medical communities are still loath to try the method. In Baltimore, for example, the anesthetic is not yet in general obstetric use, chiefly because of previous tragic experiences with single (not continuous) caudal anesthesia. There were three maternal deaths in a series of a few hundred cases. In each of these the death was attributed to an accidental insertion of the needle through the dura and subsequent injection of