De l'emploi des chlorures d'oxide de sodium et de chaux.
Labarraque, Antoine Germain

Publisher Information: Paris: Mme. Hazard, 1825.

Beginning of Scientific Antisepsis in Medicine

LABARRAQUE, Antoine Germain (1777-1850). De l'emploi des chlorures d'oxide de sodium et de chaux. . . . 8vo. 48pp. 198 x 128 mm. Modern wrappers. Very slight foxing. Very good copy. [Paris: Huzard, 1825.]

FIRST EDITION. Garrison-Morton 5633. Introduction of chlorine solution as a disinfectant in medicine, marking the beginning of scientific antisepsis. The Paris pharmacist Labarraque influenced French and English surgeons to use hypochlorite for burns, operative wounds, and fractures; Semmelweis established the value of hypochlorite in antisepsis, and used it as a hand-wash for accoucheurs and on all materials likely to come in contact with the parturient canal; hypochlorite remained in favor through the First World War, especially with Carrel and Dakin.

Labarraque had been a student of the great chemist / industrialist Chaptal, who used chlorine solution for bleaching paper and treating engravings in the 1780's, when chlorine bleach for textiles was developing. Labarraque's first success with chlorine disinfectant came in the early 1820's, in the slaughter houses; in his prize-winning memoir of 1822 on this subject he recommended that his disinfectant be used in similar situations, such as dissecting rooms and morgues, and in exhumations. In 1823 the police officially adopted chlorine solution for use in handling corpses, and in latrines, and Labarraque drew up a brief instruction on its application (reprinted at the beginning of the 1825 Emploi). The fame of the so-called "Labarraque's liquid" spread, and chlorine solution began to be used in hospitals, prisons, marketplaces, stables, canals and ships in France and abroad. It was applied in cases of gangrene, ulceration, and hospital infections, and the good results reported in a few journals, but not by Labarraque himself until the 1825 Emploi, which was printed two months after he was awarded a 3000 franc prize by the Academy of Sciences in recognition of the value of his disinfectant for public health.

Labarraque stated on the first page of the Emploi that he did not publish on his first medical experiments with chlorine solution out of fear of being counted among the charlatans with miracle cures. The 1825 Emploi provides his only summary of his work with chlorine disinfectant, both in public health and specific medical cases, and is the text that was translated for the communication of his methods in Britain and America. It is quite rare; NUC NL 0002270 shows only three locations. The copies in NUC and Wellcome III 422 are paginated as ours, all copies apparently being without a separate title page; a note in Wellcome states that the title and imprint given in the Wellcome citation have been taken from the cover of the pamphlet. Wangensteen & Wangensteen 319. Partington III 509. Hirsch.

Edition: 1st edition

Book Id: 12553

Price: $1,750.00

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