- Project Runeberg -  The story of San Michele /
380

(1929) [MARC] Author: Axel Munthe - Tema: Medicine
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spoke of sending for all the leading doctors of
Rome to have their opinion. I said it was
unnecessary and besides too late, the decision
of operation or no operation remained with
Erhardt and me. I wrapped a blanket round
the little girl and told him to take her to his
room. He said he would give a million dollars
to save the life of his son, I told him it was not
a question of dollars and banged the door in his
face. The mother remained by the side of the
bed, watching us with terror in her eyes, I told
her that the operation might have to be done
at any moment, it would take at least an hour
to get a nurse, she would have to help us. She
nodded her assent without saying a word, her
face twitching under the effort to keep back her
tears, she was a brave and a fine woman. While
I was putting a clean towel on the table under
the lamp and preparing the instruments, Erhardt
told me that by a strange coincidence he had
received that very morning through the German
Embassy a sample of Behring’s new
anti-diphtheric serum sent to him at his request from the
laboratory in Marburg. It had, as I knew,
already been tried with remarkable success in
several German clinics. Should we try the
serum? There was no time for discussion, the
boy was sinking rapidly, we both thought his
chances very small. With the consent of the
mother we decided to inject the serum. The
reaction was terrific and almost instantaneous.
His whole body turned black, his temperature
sprang up to a hundred and six, suddenly to
drop under normal in a violent shivering fit. He

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