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The Virginia Apgar Papers

Letter from Karl A. Connell to Virginia Apgar pdf (1,727,659 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Karl A. Connell to Virginia Apgar
Connell Apparatus manufactured and serviced the anesthesia machines used at Presbyterian Hospital. During Apgar's first years as director of the Anesthesia Division, the hospital grappled with the problem of explosions resulting from accidental ignition of anesthesia gases in the operating room. It was not always clear where the sparks originated in these accidents, and Connell worked with the hospital staff to discover which equipment and materials were causing them. In this letter, Connell described a modification to the equipment and other methods to reduce the risk of sparking from static electricity.
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
2 (1,727,659 Bytes)
1939-03-09 (March 9, 1939)
Connell, Karl A.
Connell Apparatus
Apgar, Virginia
Original Repository: Mount Holyoke College. Archives and Special Collections. Virginia Apgar Papers [MS 0504]
Reproduced with permission of Karl Connell.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Exhibit Category:
Establishing a New Specialty, 1938-1949
Metadata Record Letter from Virginia Apgar to Karl A. Connell (March 21, 1939) pdf (55,211 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Metadata Record Letter from Allen O. Whipple to Virginia Apgar (April 5, 1939) pdf (49,074 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Metadata Record Letter from Karl A. Connell to Virginia Apgar [ca. 9 April 1939] pdf (52,123 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Box Number: 5
Folder Number: 4
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Correspondence 1925-1974
Folder: 1939-1940
Mch 9/39
Dear Dr Apgar:
We evidently have been grinding in the shunt valves too tight and without the right lubricant. The lubricant we have now found, a boiling water proof, sodalime proof lubricant used in hooking marine propellers and water pumps. We will send you a box and fix your "static" for good and all. The new piston installed by Puritan may leak, for each must be re fitted (only not so tight).
The status of intercoupling is to make a staticless high resistance cuff by a couple of winds of [ . . . ] 2 gauge on patients arm and anesthetist wrists and onto the knots of these clip a bull dog slit, connect to insulating wire that originates from the machine. This is OR at 15 percent of norm humidity. Your long born days is OR at 30 percent norm humidity. I have done a great deal of work in starting "explosions," i.e. igniting Oxg acetylene. Never has the gauge given an igniting spark. The self generated static walks thru the metallicized
high resistors of Prof Hoilon of the M.I.T. as tho nobody was home and ignite gas every time.
Another unique finding is that with a high charge of static on myself, I can polarize a small metal body insulated from myself or can polarize the wet surface of rubber and get a spark to the "machine" and cause ignition. This then was the source of your spark, for disagreeing with Dr Williams, I do not think that dry rubber surface unless laboratory dried has the generating capacity to make and hold an igniting spark. Whereas a damp bag interior can be polarized and spark O.R. just like a leyden jar.
What I want especially from you.
(x) 1st was there a metal neck on the Heidbrinks bag which blew. If so the spark is easy to explain [ . . . ] charged from the anesthetist. Or if there was rubber to metal, and the (y) anesthetist hand was distant from the apparatus and well insulated by the bag, then we can best assume a polarization of wet bag interior to build the fairly substantial spark necessary to ignite I have not been able to ignite with mere gloves, or SLEP fire, or phosphorescent (in the dark) charges.
Please answer (x) and (y)
Karl Connell
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