During Apgar's first several years as director of the Anesthesia Division, the hospital grappled with the problem of explosions
caused by accidental ignition of anesthesia gases. In this letter, Whipple, director of the Department of Surgery, informed
Apgar that he and several other surgical directors agreed to discontinue the use of cyclopropane and ethylene anesthesia until
the risk of explosion could be eliminated. He noted that though the incidence had not been high so far, any more explosions
would reflect very badly on the hospital in the public press.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (49,074 Bytes)
1939-04-05 (April 5, 1939)
Whipple, Allen O.
Original Repository: Mount Holyoke College. Archives and Special Collections. Virginia Apgar Papers [MS 0504]
Reproduced with permission of Richard J. Bing.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Establishing a New Specialty, 1938-1949
Letter from Karl A. Connell to Virginia Apgar (March 9, 1939)
Letter from Virginia Apgar to Karl A. Connell (March 21, 1939)
Yesterday at a conference with Dr. Squier and Dr. Watson it was agreed that, until further decision, it was wise not to use
cyclopropane or ethylene in the anesthesia on the operating room floors.
It was felt that, although the incidence of explosion may not be greater, even though we felt that to be a debatable point,
if we should have an explosion at the present time with such a recent one appearing in the public press we would be held responsible
by both the public and the management of the hospital for using a form of anesthesia that carries with it an unusual risk.
It was felt advisable to have this understood by all the anesthetists so that if operators ask for these anesthesias, they
should be told that the heads of the three surgical services had decided on discontinuing it for the time being.