Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Myodil arachnoiditis
  1. Ernest Jellinek
  1. 7 Oxgangs Rd, Edinburgh, UK, EH10 7GB

Iatrongenic and forensic illness


All iatrongenic illness is fascinating. The threat of litigation apart, it engenders feelings of guilt, or of relief at near misses. When I was a neurological trainee in the 1950s and 1960s I served as the agent who injected Myodil (Pantopaque in North America:ethyliodophenyl-undecanoate), or air, into the lumber theca for the neuroradiologists, for subsequent screening of spine and head – myelography and air- encephalography. The air injections were instantly nasty, with headache, vomiting and sometimes loss of consciousness. The injection of Myodil, a viscous oil, was not painful if one was reasonably competent, but attempts to remove it after the screening could be very disagreeable, and were inevitably incomplete, and therefore not done in many centres.

Later, I myself must have referred some patients injudiciously for myelography, which became a lesser cause of future trouble after the advent of water-soluble media in the 1970s – unlike Myodil these were of course

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Other content recommended for you