Canadian Journal of Anaesthesia

, Volume 44, Issue 8, pp 896–899 | Cite as

An emergency pocket drug case of the 1940s

  • Jannela J. Rao
  • Brian E. Welsh
History of Anaesthesia



A description is given of an emergency box dating from about 1940. Its compact and portable nature, and certain of its contents, while throwing light on the working conditions of the times, raised a question as to its purpose and provenance

Principle features

The main contents-the box and its contents are described, and the possible use of its constituents is considered. The drugs fall into five main groups: anaesthetic premedicants. medullary stimulants, vasoconstrictors, cardiac stimulants and drugs acting on the uterus. It is suggested that their primary purpose was for emergency obstetric use.


It is concluded that the most probable purpose was for use by the obstetric ‘Flying squad.’ A brief account of the constitution of such a squad, and its method of working, is given.


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Décrire une trousse d’urgence datant de 1940 environ. Compacte et portative, certains des éléments qu’elle contient, tout en nous éclairant sur les conditions de travail de l’époque, soulèvent la question de son utilisation et de son origine.

Caractéristiques principales

Il s’agit d’une description des pnncipales caracténstiques de la trousse et de son contenu avec des considérations sur le contenu. Les produits pharmaceutiques sont répartis en cinq groupes principaux: prémédication anesthésique, stimulant bulbaire, vasoconstricteur, stimulant cardiaque et ocytocique. Il semble que la trousse était destinée surtout à l’obstétrique.


Cette trousse devait servir à «l’équipe volante» obstétricale. Cet article décrit brièvement la composition de cette équipe et ses méthodes de travail.


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Copyright information

© Canadian Anesthesiologists 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jannela J. Rao
    • 1
  • Brian E. Welsh
    • 2
  1. 1.Departments of AnaesthesiaSouth Tees NHS Acute Hospitals TrustMiddlesbroughUK
  2. 2.Royal Victoria InfirmaryNewcastle upon TyneUK

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