Salt Water Substitute for Blood Transfusion
The New York State Civil Defense Commission has announced that it is including, in its medical stockpile, kits containing measured amounts of sodium chloride, sodium citrate and containers for measured amounts of water. These kits will be used in the preparation of a saline solution for emergency treatment in preventing shock from burns. This method was discovered by chance in Lima, Peru, where it was found that the saline solution taken orally was about as good as blood, plasma and intravenous fluids in preventing shock.
Dr. T. Howard Clarke, Northwestern University surgeon, in reporting on this simple development, said that it would in effect make every burn patient his own doctor. The solution may be easily prepared by adding a teaspoonful of table salt and a teaspoonful of baking soda to a quart of water. Started immediately after the burn, the drink should be taken until all thirst is satisfied. If the thirst returns, more of the solution should be consumed. By following these instructions, the immediate need for transfusion should be virtually eliminated in those patients with less than fifty per cent total body surface burn.
Dr. Carl A. Moyer, School of Medicine, Washington University; St. Louis, Mo., who first advocated the use of saline solutions for treatment of burns, cautions against the use of such crude methods since the capacity of the teaspoon varies widely.
The original report on this method was presented during a symposium on burns sponsored by The National Research Council.
New York State C. D. News Letter