When I began my training in Psychiatry Paraldehyde was occasionally still used, particularly in the ‘Forensic ward’. You could smell it on opening the locked door to the Forensic ward. The nurses used to tell me how it “melted” plastic syringes and that it had to be administered with glass syringes.

I recently read a biography of Evelyn Waugh ‘A Life Revisited’ by Philip Eade, from which I learned, that after a 3 week Delirium, the writer Evelyn Waugh was prescribed Paraldehyde which he took for the rest of his life.

In his novels Waugh often returned to the theme of memory. He also wrote a book called ‘LABELS’. With this in mind, it is worth sharing this opening paragraph of a letter submitted to the British Medical Journal in 1935:

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