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Durocher Nearly Dies at Polo Grounds, Saved by Surgeon

Aug. 24, 1962 - A surgeon from Malone, N.Y., arrived in time to save Leo Durocher’s life tonight at the Polo Grounds. Durocher (pictured being transported to an ambulance) had suffered a severe reaction to a penicillin shot prior to the Dodgers’ game with the Mets. “Three or four minutes later and Durocher would have been dead,” said Dr. Wade Hastings, after he had given the 57-year-old coach an intravenous injection of adrenalin to counteract the effects of the penicillin. After the injections, the Dodger coach was taken by ambulance to Roosevelt Hospital. Dr. Peter LaMotte, the Mets’ physician, took charge of the case. At the hospital, Dr. LaMotte said that Durocher was in good condition and would be kept overnight. He said that Durocher had asked for a television set in his room so that he could watch the Dodger game. Durocher was stricken before the game while sitting in front of his locker. About 15 minutes earlier, he had been given the penicillin by the Dodgers’ trainer, Joe Buhler, to treat an infection. Dr. Hastings described the third-base coach’s reaction as a penicillin anaphylactic shock. He also gave Durocher two antihistamine shots to neutralize the shock and administered oxygen.

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