During 1958, 40,000 people will be killed on the highways of the United States, 6,500 will drown, and 13,000 will die from industrial accidents and asphyxia. It makes no difference whether the injuries involve three patients in a highway accident from a 200-horsepower collision or a half million from a megaton nuclear explosion; the victims must be treated individually, promptly, and intelligently. The survival of the victims concerns us far more than the disposition or the census of the fatalities.
Of equal significance is the fact that this large number of lethal casualties represents only the apex of a much broader pyramid projecting geometrically an astounding toll of severely injured, yet salvable, patients.
Physicians frequently witness physiological asphyxia as a terminal state of debilitating physical illness. In such a setting, the asphyxial state is usually irreversible and the physician cannot correct it. In contrast, acute asphyxia frequently occurs in healthy