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Robert Elman, M.D.
AMA Arch Surg. 1952;65(6):807-808. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1952.01260020801002.
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IT MAY come as a surprise to learn that according to the United States mortality tables hernia (exclusive of intestinal obstruction) in 1948 is listed as responsible for about 5,000 deaths, a figure which exceeded the death rate for acute appendicitis in that year. Moreover, this total mortality has remained nearly constant for the past two decades, a period during which the mortality from acute appendicitis has been cut sharply to about one-third. These fatalities are, of course, not due to the hernia itself, but to its complications, i. e., strangulation or obstruction, which are readily prevented by an adequate, properly executed operation. Inasmuch as hernia should be readily recognized and effectively repaired with practically no risk, there is really no excuse for the high death rate. One aspect of the problem of hernia, therefore, is the need for a drastic reduction of mortality by the preventive procedure of herniotomy.


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