NOTIFICATION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES
SIR, -I quite agree with one of your correspondents that the personal experience of one man goes for very little ; still, "you speak of a man as you find him," and so with anæsthetics, your own personal experience is, after all, the thing that gives you confidence. I still stand to my guns, and assert that methylene, given through Junker's inhaler, is the closest approximate to a perfectly safe anaesthetic that we have. It is not quite fair of Dr. Jacob to assert that I regard with equanimity
... e long list of chloroform deaths ; but I decline any longer to submit to a species of terrorism which has of late been exercised over the profession. We have been told in effect that the use of any other anaesthetic than ether is nothing less than a crime; and now we are beginning to find out that ether has its dangers. Four, not two, deaths (as stated by Dr. Jacob) from ether have been reported during the last twelve months ; and two others, in which ether played its part, making six in all. I myself lost a patient during an amputation ; and although I gave ether the benefit of the doubt, and attributed the death to shock, stilt the fact remains that ether was the anaesthetic used, and that the man died during its inhalation. Then I see another death reported from New York; so that in all during the last twelve months eight deaths have occurred under the influence of ether, or mixtures with ether; and this is the perfectly safe anaesthetic which we are bound over with all sorts of pains and penalties to use, and none other ! I am quite aware that methylene depreciates after the bottle is once opened ; but that is easily remedied, as the makers put it up in small ounce and a half bottles. I believe I am correct in stating that it has been used almost exclusively at the South Devon Hospital for many years without a single mishap ; and my friend Mr. W. Square tells me that he employs it almost invariably at the Eye Infirmary. Its use among dentists is also very general ; so that in the course of the year it must be given many thousands of times ; and any mishap in a dentist's room would be quite sure to attract public attention. I can therefore hardly agree with Dr. Jacob's dictum, that methylene is very little used; and if he can produce only ten recorded deaths during the last ten years, why, I think my case in its favour is fairly proved.