Medicine: Draining the Patient

Bloodletting, almost as old as surgery itself, has lately been out of favor. But in the current American Journal of Surgery, two Cleveland doctors recommend a bloodletting technique so radical and daring that an oldtime chirurgeon would have paled at the thought of it. Their method: deliberately drain away the patient's blood, in amounts up to 2½ or even 3 quarts, during certain serious types of surgery, then replace it as needed.

Dr. W. James Gardner and Dr. Donald E. Hale had been concerned with the surgeon's problems and the patient's danger in operations where profuse bleeding is likely (a common example:...

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