11 april 1895

Sigmund Freud skriver til sin venn Wilhelm Fliess i Berlin (her gjengitt i engelsk oversettelse -- originalen er på tysk):

"Dearest Wilhelm, Gloomy times, unbelievably gloomy. Above all, this Eckstein affair, which is rapidly moving toward a bad ending. Last time I reported to you that Gussenbauer inspected the cavity under anesthesia, palpated it, and declared it to be satisfactory. We had high hopes, and the patient was gradually recovering.

Eight days later she began to bleed, with the packing in place, something that had not been the case previously. She was immediately packed again; the bleeding was minimal.

Two days later renewed bleeding, again with the packing in place, and by then overabundantly. New packing, renewed perplexity.

Yesterday Rosanes wanted to examine the cavity again; by chance, a new hypothesis about the source of the bleeding during the first operation (yours) was suggested by Weil. As soon as the packing was partly removed, there was a new, life-threatening hemorrhage which I witnessed. It did not spurt, it surged. Something like a fluid level rising extraordinarily rapidly, and then overflowing everything. It must have been a large vessel, but which one and from where? Of course, nothing could be seen and it was a relief to have the packing back in again.

Add to this the pain, the morphine, the demoralization caused by the obvious medical helplessness, and the tinge of danger, and you will be able to picture the state the poor girl is in. We do not know what to do.

Rosanes is opposed to the ligation of the carotid that was recommended. The danger that she will run a fever also is not far off.

I am really very shaken to think that such a mishap could have arisen from an operation that was purported to be harmless. I do not know whether I should hold this depressing business exclusively responsible for the fact that the condition of my heart remains so much below par for this year of illness. After an interruption of several months, I started to take strophantus again so as to have a less disgraceful pulse, something that so far has failed to materialize. Mood and strength are very a bas.

I plan to spend Easter with Rie on the Semmering; there I shall perhaps pick up the pieces again. My scientific work is proceeding, more or less; that is, nothing new, no ideas and no observations.

As far as my psychological research is concerned, I have worked myself to the bone and shall now let it rest. Only the book I am writing with Breuer is progressing; it will be ready in about three weeks. The only new thing, the analysis of Mr. F. who perspires in the theater, is quite incomprehensible if I do not elucidate it. I hope I still have a chance to read it to you myself.

Thus far nothing at all has been said about you. I gather you have just begun to feel well again. Just keep it up for a long time now! Your head is well, after all. That has been accomplished; may I now really believe it? With the most cordial greetings to you and your dear wife, Your Sigm."


Freud, S., et al. (1985). The complete letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess : 1887-1904. Cambridge, Mass, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.


Utdrag gjengitt her: