Therapeutics: Antibiotics in Surgery

Because World War II soldiers suffered fewer serious wound infections if they got prompt penicillin treatment, surgeons got the idea that patients could be protected against infections if they were given a hefty dose of antibiotics at the time of operation. Not so, says Scottish-trained Surgeon Frederick R. C. Johnstone. Far from giving added protection, this prophylactic use of antibiotics introduces extra hazards in the vast majority of civilian cases.

For 2½ years, Dr. Johnstone kept detailed records of every dose of antibiotics given to patients in a test ward in Vancouver General Hospital. University surgeons did the operations and...

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