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On motion of Dr. Albert Merrell, of Missouri:
Resolved, That our hearty thanks are due to the press of Topeka for their courteous and full reports of the proceedings of this Association.
Resolved, That the thanks of the Association be extended the State Eclectic Medical Association of Kansas, to the ladies and citizens of Topeka who have so generously contributed to our entertainment, and to the State and State Officers for the use of the State Building for our meetings.
On motion of Dr. Milton Jay, of Illinois, seconded by Dr. Furber, of Kansas:
Resolved, That the Secretary, Alexander Wilder, be paid two hundred dollars and his expenses for services during the year.
Resolved, That the Treasurer, James Anton, be paid sixty dollars for travelling expenses.
INSTALLATION OF OFFICERS.
The Chair announced the next order of business to be the installation of the officers elect. Doctors Jay, of Illinois, and Welch, of Kansas, were appointed a committee to conduct the new officers to the platform.
Dr. Younkin was introduced as the new President and duly welcomed. He then addressed the Association :
Gentlemen of the National Eclectic Medical Association :
I can but express my thanks for the very high honor you have conferred upon me in electing me to preside over your deliberations. I shall endeavor to perform these duties with credit and to the best interests of the Association. I invoke the aid of every member, and your expectations in carrying out the will of the Association I hope not to disappoint. The mantle which has fallen upon me by virtue of assuming the place of our former worthy President, I am aware, does not fit, but in its wrinkles I trust you will be able to find me. One stroke of this gavel calls you to order, and I hope that two or more strokes will never indicate confusion or disorder.
Dr. Welch, being presented as first Vice-President, rendered his acknowledgements. Doctors Covert and Beam in turn were introduced to the Association and made addresses.
Dr. Wilder thanked the members for their cordial greeting. It was an honor to be appreciated highly. The office of Secretary is one of responsibility, labor and care; and so long as he held it he would endeavor to discharge its duties faithfully, as the servant of the Association.
Dr. Anton declared his gratitude for the confidence and cordial regard which had been extended to him in the important
trust committed to him. The members would hear regularly from him, sometimes importunately, perhaps; but it was all to further the interests of the Association, which had in its turn rendered back to each one abundantly.
CLOSING OF THE SESSION.
On motion of Dr. S. S. Judd, of Wisconsin :
Resolved, That one thousand copies of the Constitution and By-Laws be published in pamphlet form for the use of members of this Association.
The Committee on Credentials reported the name of Robert F. Hirsch, of Nebraska, with the recommendation that he be elected a Permanent Member. The report was adopted.
Doctors S. B. Munn, of Connecticut, and Morton Robinson, of New Jersey, were appointed Auditing Committee for the coming year.
The business of the Association having now been concluded, the President declared the meeting adjourned till the 18th day of June, 1884.
ALEXANDER WILDER, Secretary.
PAPERS ACCOMPANYING THE ANNUAL REPORT.
BEFORE THE NATIONAL ECLECTIC MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, AT TOPEKA, KANSAS, JUNE 20, 1883.
BY ANDREW JACKSON HOWE, A. M., M. D., President.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN-When people are sick they send for a doctor, and when they are well they laugh at physic. To-day you are well and care little for a discourse on medicine; therefore, I shall say little about the topic which presents so many caprices, which is generally so distasteful.
The average listener wants to hear something startling, something which is revolutionary and convulsive. All are interested in the latest inventions and improvements. The agriculturist is not content with implements which have not been devised or modified within the passing year. The mechanic must possess æsthetic tools; and the railway train is voted slow that does not make fifty miles an hour. The vessel which makes the quickest trip across the ocean is the one most praised.
The conservative septuagenarian may shrug his shoulders, and declare the world is moving too fast for safety, yet the inventive spirit of the age lessens the friction of revolving wheels, and so ingeniously combines force and material that the greatest possible security is obtained. Behold the modern bridge which spans our great rivers. It seems too light and slender for bearing heavy strains, yet the passing train
scarcely makes it tremble. A clumsily constructed affair might tumble or fall through an inadequate display of constructive skill or sheer ponderosity. A carriage, for instance, is only as strong as it may be at its weakest part. To be perfect, like the famous "one-horse shay," it must combine no disproportions. A bulky top helps to break a light wheel, and the thicker the axle, the poorer the pivot, the greater the wear and tear.
ADVANCEMENT AND PLEA FOR PHYSICIANS.
Although the world will be long in attaining perfection in even a few things, it is seemingly never tired of trying to advance. And an encouraging feature of the trial is, that every new point acquired becomes an appreciable help in the way of discovery and improvement. Progress made in one branch of art, science or mechanics means a forward movement along the whole line.
In the general advance everywhere recognisable, Medicine alone is accused of lagging back, of wasting its energies in fighting wind-mills, and of paying undue homage to the Past. It is boldly asserted that physicians of good repute still practice a species of jugglery by pretending that their drugs perform cures, when in fact the recuperative powers of the animal economy do all the healing and mending! These are grave charges, and possibly embrace a moiety of truth as well as a mass of fiction. It ought to be generally confessed that certain more or less innocent deceits are permissable in medical practice. What doctor has not been enjoined a thousand times not to allow the patient to know the worst, if anything bad be discovered in the case? All seem to recognise the fact that a feeble person may be killed with fright.
In extenuation of our professional short-comings, I would remind our accusers that the sick have so much faith in drugs that it would be cruel at least, if not wicked, to tell them the whole truth in the matter. The dispensers of highly potentised medicaments have an excellent following, for many cures attend the administration of "blanks" and "placebos." If the people could realise how little efficacy there is in saccharine pellets, they would turn back to barbarian incantation. Then
again, it should be recollected that an individual may be wise in business transactions, yet be incredibly credulous in matters medical. There is also an analogous incongruity in religious matters. The pundits of India may be masters of philosophy, yet be devotees to an irrational Theism.
When Garibaldi submitted to an Italian legislature a scheme for draining the Pontine Marshes, the proposition failed because a majority of the members believed that prayer was efficacious in curing malaria, and it was palpably cheaper than drainage! When the King of Siam was told that he consumed myriads of animalcules every day, he expressed contempt for the assertion; and when the missionary exhibited a multitude of swimmers in a drop of water displayed on the side of a microscope, the prince was excited to such a degree of rage that he stamped the instrument with his feet. He declared that his loyal subjects would become maniacal if they should see what he had seen, and that his people were better off without Christian knowledge of that kind.
In exultant moments we flatter ourselves that scientific methods are everywhere triumphant; that common schools and universal learning have banished superstition and the charms of mysticism; yet, when we visit the abodes of the sick, and find our vaunted physic thrown aside, and in its place are employed goose-oil and other disgusting methods, our high notions of medical practice are lowered a little. But such disregard of our modes need not disturb the philosophical. We should call to mind the fact that ancient medical practice consisted chiefly in the concoction of everything and anything diabolical and shocking—
"Eye of newt and toe of frog,"
And "Liver of blaspheming Jew."
Is it a wonder that we here and there meet with a remnant of barbaric incongruity? The priests and sorcerers of ancient Egypt were a self-constituted "Board of Health," and practiced all kinds of deceptions-the people believing that authority to practice medicine came from the gods, and was divine.
Not till the Rennaissance did medical men study anatomy, and acquire a knowledge of physiology and pathology.