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C. Hunter Shelden, M.D.
JAMA. 1955;159(10):981-986. doi:10.1001/jama.1955.02960270001001.
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The physicians of this country are up in arms against the ever-increasing number of fatalities occurring daily on our streets and highways as the result of automobile accidents. The neurosurgeons are seriously involved in this crusade because they are called upon to care for the patients in critical condition with severe head injuries. Head and neck injuries account for nearly 70% of all auto crash fatalities. In spite of the frequency of these tragedies, I have never known a neurosurgeon who has become calloused to the distasteful task of caring for a patient with a fatal head injury. Despite the endless repetition, the reaction is always the same—frustration and anger. The feeling of utter frustration stems from the realization of our own therapeutic limitations and the knowledge that the brain, once contused beyond a specific degree, presents an irreversible reaction. General supportive measures and occasionally operative relief of gross hemorrhage


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