To the Editor:-It was the American philosopher George Santayana who observed that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”[1]

I draw his words to your attention in response to the report by Kopman et al. [2] and the Editorial comments that it stimulated in the March 1997 issue of Anesthesiology.

As one will see from the material I enclose, [3] the observation that small doses of nondepolarizing muscle relaxants can have a profound and long-lasting effect on the ocular muscles is by no means new.

Nor do I claim any originality for the observation. Speaking from memory only, I think that interested readers will also find it mentioned in Draper and Whitehead's classical report. They went much further than did Kopman et al. They submitted each other to total body curarization without sedation.

But as their names are associated with “Diffusion Respiration,” the authors probably overlooked that report in their own search of the literature.

C. Stanley Jones, F.R.C.A.

Unit D4; Helen Keller Park; P. O. Box 38683; Pinelands, 7430; South Africa

(Accepted for publication August 21, 1997.)

Santayana G: The Faber Book of Aphorisms. Edited by Auden WH, Kronenberger L. London, Faber and Faber, 1970, p 239.
Kopman AF, Yee PS, Neuman GG: Relationship of the train-of-four fade ratio to clinical signs and symptoms of residual paralysis in awake volunteers. Anesthesiology 1997; 86:765-71.
Jones CS: Regional curarisation: anesthesia for surgery of the knee-joint. Lancet 1963; 2:482-3.