Medicine: Hiccoughs

For 59 days one Vera Stone, 18, Tennessee girl, hiccoughed. She acked, eked, icked, ooked, ucked until she nearly died. Her diaphragm jerked until it ached and her arms and hands went numb. Doctors at Ripley, her home, and Memphis, where she was hospitalized, sought causes—irritation of the stomach's mucous membranes, affection of the phrenic (diaphragm) nerve, peritonitis, sleeping sickness (encephalitis lethargica), methyl chloride escaping from a mechanical refrigerator. None of these were causative. They made her gulp cold water and hold her breath. That usually stops hiccoughs, but not Vera...

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