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JAMA. 1883;I(13):382-383. doi:10.1001/jama.1883.02390130002001a.
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[Read in the Section on Diseases of Children, June, 1883.]

In 1872 I was called to visit a boy, aged eight years. The history of the case and the physical diagnosis disclosed the presence of fluid in the left pleural cavity. Its nature was determined by the exploratory puncture with the hypodermic needle. After thirty days I was in doubt as to the treatment pursued, and I sent the following telegram to Prof. Bowditch:

“Patient æt. eight years; pleuritis, followed by empyæmia; three aspirations; interim ten days. First aspiration, 36 ounces; second, 24 ounces; third, 36 ounces of pus,” and in his absence received a reply from a physician of acknowledged ability to “aspirate.” I followed his instruction during the remaining six weeks that my patient lived.

The result of the treatment impressed me so profoundly that I have never followed up a succession of aspirations in empyæmia; but am


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