Filler A memorable patient

Diphtheria

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.333.7561.234 (Published 27 July 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:234
  1. Caleb Tucker (candjtucker@xtreme.net.nz)1
  1. 1 retired surgeon and hospital administrator, Wellington, New Zealand

    In the 1940s we were still seeing occasional cases of diphtheria in our provincial hospital in New Zealand's North Island. Two I clearly remember died from overwhelming toxaemia; they had come from isolated country districts and presumably had not been immunised.

    In April 1946, a 16 year old schoolgirl, also from an isolated country district, was admitted with severe respiratory obstruction due to diphtheria. She had widespread membrane formation in the mouth and throat, and, when I …

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