Medicine: The Puzzle of the 17 Patients

In the quiet French wine town of Mâcon on the Saone, the hospital's doctors and nurses wore worried frowns. Even Madame Anne-Marie Demussy, the usually calm head nurse, seemed upset. Something very odd indeed was going on. In less than three years, 15 women patients had died mysterious deaths under very similar circumstances.

Nearly all the victims had been operated on for disorders of the uterus, ovaries, etc. (two had had stomach operations). In each case the operation had seemed successful. But within 24 hours, every one of the patients had shown the same...

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