In the early 1940's, Dr. Cannon and Dr. Oliver Cope (1902-1994) became concerned about the effectiveness of tannic acid, then the most common treatment of burns used in Boston. In a study conducted at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Drs. Cannon and Cope determined that tannic acid actually inhibited the healing of burns. These photographs are from an article that Cope and Cannon published in The Annals of Surgery in 1943. This critical study altered the way the burns were treated and altered the procedure the United States Military had planned on using as World War II was breaking out.
On November 28, 1942 the Cocoanut Grove, a nightclub in Boston's South End caught on fire. There were nearly one thousand people crammed inside and over five hundred of them died. Though Dr. Cannon was drafted earlier in 1942, his induction was delayed so that he could treat victims of the fire. Dr. Cannon was given the task of treating 10 survivors with major burns. This enabled him to apply the lessons learned in the burn study conducted with Oliver Cope. These photographs illustrate some of the injuries that Dr. Cannon treated.