Empyema of the new-born is a subject which, perhaps justly, because of its apparent rarity, has received scant attention in textbooks on diseases of children. It was not specifically discussed in Abt's "Pediatrics"1 or in Holt and Howland's2 textbook. Grulee and Bonar3 in "Clinical Pediatrics" briefly discussed the subject, as did von Reuss4 and Finkelstein5 in their books on diseases of the new-born and diseases of infants, respectively. The reason for this is not far to seek. The rapidity of the progress of the disease to a fatal termination, together with the difficulty of diagnosing fluid in the chest of a new-born infant, has caused the diagnosis of empyema in most of these cases to be made only at necropsy.
It may be stated that by a new-born infant is meant one of 3 weeks of age or less, according to the admittedly somewhat arbitrary