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ARTICLE |

THE GETTLER TEST FOR DROWNING

John H. Schaefer, M.D.
JAMA. 1960;173(1):88. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020190090031.
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ABSTRACT

To the Editor:—  Russell S. Fisher, M.D., in his article, "Recent Developments in Forensic Pathology," in The Journal, Feb. 27, page 896, states that "the Gettler test for drowning was described nearly two decades ago." In July, 1929, I spent a week with Doctor Gonzales in the office of the Medical Examiner in New York, and Gettler's test was discussed with me at that time, nearly 31 years ago.Doctor Fisher states that the Gettler test "depends on the assumption that, in persons drowning in sea water, the ingestion of highly saline water will lead to an increased blood chloride concentration in the left heart as compared to the right and, in persons drowning in fresh water, a dilution of blood chlorides in the left heart as compared to the right." In some way Doctor Fisher has substituted the word "ingestion" for "inhalation." It is impossible for materials ingested to reach

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