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Surgical Emergencies in the Newborn

John G. Raffensperger, MD
JAMA. 1972;222(2):214. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03210020060026.
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A surgical emergency in the newborn infant is the real reason for the existence of pediatric surgeons. Congenital anomalies incompatible with life require prompt diagnosis and correction by a surgeon who is experienced with the unique physiologic responses of the newborn infant.

Drs. Haller and Talbert have focused on the early diagnosis and therapy of anomalies of the respiratory, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal tract, as well as on neonatal trauma. Perhaps the most valuable portions of the book deal with preoperative and postoperative care. The authors have had considerable experience in monitoring the ill postoperative newborn infant, and perhaps they place too much stress on invasive monitoring techniques. Each venipuncture for blood sampling and each catheter placement for monitoring venous and arterial pressure is a potential entry site for sepsis. Thoughtful observation with a few simple measurements are sufficient to guide most babies through major surgery. The authors did not lay


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