Medicine: Without Blowups

Chest surgeons would like an anesthetic for electric-knife operations that will put and keep the patient under with no danger of blowing the patient up. Both ether and cyclopropane are inflammable, and the wound-cauterizing electric knife, a useful aid to modern surgery, can act like a flaming match when brought near lungs filled with inflammable gas.

University of California Medical School doctors this week claimed they had the answer: a mixture of curare and nitrous oxide, potent enough to put the patient under, paralyze his respiratory muscles. In 68 chest operations in which the new anesthetic had been used, surgeons had wielded...

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