* A woman was paralyzed after being given an epidural during labour at a hospital in Chichester, England. A High Court judge found for the woman, concluding that the anesthetist had ignored protocols, and had injected a neurotoxic substance into the woman by mistake (The Lancet, 29 October 1994).
* About 20 per cent of lumbar punctures lead to injury. It had been assumed that injuries mainly occurred when the puncture was carried out by a junior, inexperienced doctor, but a new study has found there is no evidence to support this (The Lancet, 15 October 1994).
* Sumatriptan, a migraine drug, may be misused and even sold on illegally by some patients, early findings of a Danish study indicate. Heavy use of the drug has been tracked by the study out of proportion to actual cases of migraine, reports Dr David Gaist et al, from the Odense University Hospital (The Lancet, 15 October 1994).
* Cancer chemotherapy has a new suggested use: abortion. The highly potent cancer drug methotrexate, used with misoprostol, could become routine treatments for early abortion, a study has suggested. The drugs are relatively inexpensive, and immediate side effects were dizziness and nausea, say researchers from the San Francisco General Hospital (JAMA, 19 October 1994).