Medicine: Death from the Machine

After 2½ hours of tense work in the operating room of St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, Ill., Surgeon Edson F. Fowler was just beginning to relax. He had removed part of the stomach of the Rev. James Cummings, 35, a Chicago priest, because of intractable ulcers. Everything had gone smoothly. But as Dr. Fowler was putting the last stitches in the patient's abdomen, there came a bang like that of a bursting tire, and a puff of smoke spewed out of the anesthesia machine. The explosion ripped open the anesthesia bag, and blew out the glass covers on the machine's flutter...

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