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May We Not Secure Immunity from Fatal Chloroform Narcosis?

H. W. Dudley, M.D.
JAMA. 1903;XL(13):861. doi:10.1001/jama.1903.02490130045012.
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Indianapolis, March 19, 1903.

To the Editor:  —Chloroform, pleasant to take, quickly producing thorough muscular relaxation and complete insensibility to pain, would be the ideal anesthetic were it not for the dangers attending its use. These dangers arise so quickly that the system is overwhelmed before the anesthetist realizes that death is impending. Fatalities occur, not necessarily when large amounts of chloroform are used, but when gasps and deep inspirations fill the innermost alveoli with the concentrated vapor. Various apparatuses have been devised to properly dilute the vapor, but none has been altogether satisfactory.Parturient and pregnant women seldom, if ever, succumb to chloroform narcosis, for the following reasons:1. In the parturient the central nervous system is in a state of congestion.2. In both the pregnant and the parturient movement of the diaphragm is greatly restricted because of abdominal distension; therefore, breathing is necessarily shallow. As a consequence,


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