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The committee having attended to their duty, reported the result as follows: -
Vice-Presidents, Samuel Alvord, M. D., Chicopee; Lewis Whiting, M. D., Danvers. Corresponding Secretary, Fred W. Payne, M. D., Boston.
Recording Secretary, Nathan R. Morse, M. D., Salem.
Treasurer, H. C. Clapp, M. D., Boston.
Librarian, J. T. Harris, M. D., Boston.
Censors, E. U. Jones, M. D., Taunton; A. M. Cushing, M. D., Lynn; Charles Sturtevant, M. D., Hyde Park ; R. E. Jameson, M. D., Jamaica Plain ; James Hedenburg, M. D., Medford.
On motion, the thanks of the society were extended to Dr. Worcester, for the highly interesting and valuable paper just read upon "The Care of the Insane," under the head of "Clinical Medicine,” which was continued from the morning session.
Dr. French, of Lawrence, remarked that he heartily applauded the sentiments contained in the paper by Dr. Worcester, and he hoped that something might be done to carry into effect the object sought to be reached in the presentation of that very important paper.
Dr. Holt, of Lowell, concurred in the remarks just made by Dr. French, and also in the sentiments of the paper presented by Dr. Worcester, but he thought there was no more prospect of our accomplishing the object sought in the paper at this time, than there was in getting this society into the kingdom of heaven to-day. He thought, however, that the management of the insane at the present time, although in some respects improved upon the past, needed an entire revolution in order to meet the demands of the near future.
The discussion of the papers in the Bureau of Clinical Medicine was limited for want of time, and on motion it was voted that the Bureau be closed.
Next came a paper, entitled "Observations in European Hospitals," by W. H. Lougee, M. D., of Lawrence, and although its reading occupied nearly an hour, the subject-matter was so instructive and important that the society gave their undivided attention until its close.
Dr. Scales, of Woburn, then rose and said that the society was more than pleased with the paper presented by our friend, Dr. Lougee, and he would, therefore, move that the thanks of the society be extended to Dr. Lougee for his interesting and valuable paper, and that it be referred to the Committee on Publication. Adopted.
Dr. Hedenburg, of Medford, would inquire of Dr. Lougee in regard to the use of ether in Europe.
Dr. Lougee replied that there was only one small hospital in which ether was employed at all, so far as his own observation extended.
Dr. Jernegan, of Boston, would inquire of Dr. Lougee if patients in German hospitals did not bear the shock in surgical operations better than in America.
Dr. Lougee said that they did, and it was no doubt largely due to the use of chloroform as an anesthetic instead of ether. He was satisfied that chloroform could be employed with as little risk or danger to the patient as ether, provided proper care was manifested in its administration. Dr. Lougee preferred the use of chloroform to ether.
REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON SURGERY.
I. T. Talbot, M. D., of Boston, Chairman of the Committee on Surgery, said, on behalf of the committee, that they had no papers to present, and would occupy no further time with a report.
Dr. H. M. Jernegan, of Boston, remarked that, with the permission of the society, he had a surgical case present which he would exhibit for their inspection, simply to show the method of treatment in such cases. Dr. Jernegan then introduced a Mr. Green, of Indiana, who received his injury at a railroad accident in Connecticut, on the 20th of February last, by being hurled against an iron railing surrounding a car The cars were thrown from the track, and his spine much injured thereby. The gentleman passed bloody urine.
Dr. Jernegan said that the peculiarity in these cases is such that their gravity is not always noticed at the time, but after a few weeks it shows itself by sharp pains creeping down the limbs, and in six months or a year, more or less, the limb becomes paralyzed. Pressure on the spine at the point of injury causes great pain. He also remarked that the question of concussion in railroad accidents was of great medicolegal importance at the present time, in view of the many railroad accidents which are constantly occurring, but it was his present purpose only to exhibit a kind of brace, which properly applied, afforded the patient great relief in such cases, and he would recommend as a standard work upon the subject, "Erichsen on Railroad Accidents."
Dr. Banning, of New York, who was present, acting upon the suggestion of Dr. Jernegan, and with the permission of the society, exhibited his braces and system of pads, which he had devised for spinal support, and briefly explained their application and value in spinal treatment.
On motion, voted that the Bureau of Surgery be closed.
REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON PHARMACY.
Conrad Wesselhoeft, M. D., of Boston, Chairman of the Committee on Pharmacy, reported that the committee had only one paper to present, and that was one of great importance, by his colleague on the committee, who communicated the following paper, which he read :
I. On the Homœopathic Theory of Attenuations, by Sullivan Whitney, M. D., Boston.
Dr. H. L. Chase, of Cambridgeport, said he thought the subject and paper just presented by Dr. Whitney one of vital importance to the homeopathic profession, and while he agreed with the essayist that matter was subject to law, he asked, "Do you or we know what those laws are? Does even the microscopist know what the microscope has revealed or may yet reveal?" Dr. Chase here exhibited to the society the fifth decimal trituration of certain remedies, whose presence, when even the minutest portion of the medicinal substance was mingled in a glass of water, could be detected by its coloring throughout the entire mass, by even the naked eye; and if the eye unaided could thus distinguish the presence of matter of that attenuation in water, who of us shall give limits to its divisibility? It was a solid fact, that medicines given in doses inappreciable to the eye, do exert remedial influence, and often produce effects more striking and important in disease than when exhibited in material doses.
Dr. David Thayer, of Boston, said that he thought this communication of Dr. Whitney's contained more scientific truth in fewer words than anything presented in this society since its formation, and he hoped he should hear from others on this most important subject of homœopathic attenuations, until all the doubts should be cleared up, and the question settled as to the truth of Hahnemann's method of preparing medicines by trituration. He was told that the spectroscope showed the
peculiar spectrum of the chloride of sodium, common salt, when examined even in the 30th dilution. He, Dr. Thayer, knew that there was no art in the known world that would as yet show the presence of matter in our higher dilutions, as for instance, the 200th, but there are hundreds of physicians who can testify to the good effect which follows their use in disease. He might illustrate their effects by reference to a case of photophobia confined to a dark room, where, if a solitary ray of light was permitted to enter the apartment of the patient, intense suffering was thereby produced.
Dr. Thayer believed that if time permitted, he could make it appear probable that in a grain of the thirtieth trituration of a malleable mineral or metallic substance, there are as many or more particles of that substance as there are in a grain of the third or the sixth trituration, though they may be almost infinitely small, and to say that the twelfth, the twentieth, or the thirtieth trituration had no particle of the drug in it because it cannot be detected by the microscope the arts of the laboratory, is just as absurd as it would be to say that there is no impalpable sand on the boundless shores of the sea, because a few solitary bowlders remain on the shore, against which the ocean has hurled his imperial pestle since first the flight of years began.
Man, he said, stood midway between the two infinites, the microcosm on the one hand, and the megacosm or telacosm on the other, and it is as impossible for him to comprehend the infinity of the former as of the latter. Because the human mind cannot comprehend the infinitely minute is no reason why it should doubt microscopic infinity any more than it should doubt the infinity of space, because the mind of man cannot comprehend that. He did not make these remarks thinking to enlighten anybody, but to suggest a few thoughts to aid inquiry and the discussion of the very important subject unearthed by Dr. Whitney.
On motion, Voted, that the Bureau be closed.
REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON PEDOLOGY.
T. S. Scales, M. D., of Woburn, chairman of this committee, remarked that on account of the lateness of the hour, he would simply ask that the papers in the hands of the committee be read by title and referred to the Committee on Publication. Under this head the following papers were communicated.
1. Albuminuria, by E. U. Jones, M. D., Taunton.
Fluent Coryza, treated by the Sulpho-Cyanide of Potash, by T. S. Scales, M. D., Woburn.
On motion, Voted, that the Bureau be closed.
The Committee on Climatology made no report.
No reports from county societies or physicians having charge of charitable institutions were received.
Dr. Thayer, of Boston, offered the following preamble and resolution of respect to the memory of the late Drs. W. F. Jackson and F. H. Underwood, of Boston, which, on motion, were unanimously adopted.
Whereas, Divine Providence has removed from this life Drs. W. F. Jackson and F. H. Underwood, both honored members of this society, therefore,
Resolved, That the society express its profound sorrow for the loss of these valuable members, and that its sympathy be extended to their bereaved families.
Dr. Thayer also presented the following motion, which was adopted.
Mr. President, I move you that a vote of thanks be extended to the retiring officers
of this society for their efficient services during the past year.
And so ended one of the largest and best meetings which the society has ever held, no less than one hundred and twenty-five members being present during the day. At 5 P. M. the society adjourned.
THE LATE DR. WM. F. JACKSON.
DIED April 3, 1879, of apoplexy, at his residence, 84 Dudley St., Boston Highlands, Wm. F. Jackson, M. D., aged fifty-four years.
Dr. Jackson was born in Brunswick, Me., graduated from Bowdoin College, in 1846, studied medicine with Dr. Wm. E. Payne, of Bath, Me., and took his medical degree at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, in 1849. For several years he practised at Gardiner, Me., from which place he removed to Roxbury, where he has lived for the last twenty-five years.
In 1850 he was married to Miss Abby C. West, who, with their three sons, survives him. The eldest son, Dr. Wm. L. Jackson, succeeds to his practice.
For years his professional labors have been very arduous. His practice was so extensive as in all probability to have occasioned the attack which terminated his life. He was the first treasurer of the Massachusetts Homœopathic Medical Society, and afterwards became its president.
To all who attended his funeral, the question must arise as to the cause of the coming together on such an occasion of so large and intelligent an assemblage, a large proportion of whom were beyond the middle period of life. The cause seems to have been this: Dr. Jackson united many qualities and acquirements for a good physician, and he cultivated them with a good-will. When he had work to do, or an object to accomplish, he aimed to reach his point in a direct or bee-line. He wasted the least possible time in reaching good results. His diagnosis was quick, and his action prompt. His temperament was such as to aid in giving vigor and activity to all his faculties. This, united with great tenderness and sympathy for those in distress, enabled him to reach and help his patients along the path of recovery in a way that gained their confidence and regard in a most remarkable manner. This was not done through flatteries, which he thoroughly detested; on the contrary, he was often blunt with friend or foe, in brushing away what he regarded as mistaken fallacies.
Edwin A. Colby, M. D., has removed from Lowell to Gardner, Mass.
Dr. Wm. R. McLaren, one of the first licensed physicians of the State of Illinois, has located in Woonsocket, R. I. The doctor has resided for the past ten years in Oak Park, eight miles from Chicago, and has the written indorsement of our leading homoeopathic physicians in that city.
The American Institute of Homœopathy meets at Lake George, June 24. A large and interesting meeting is expected. Those who know of any improved method of drainage, or have anything else to contribute to the Bureau of General Sanitary Science, Climatology, and Hygiene, are invited to send papers to Dr. Bushrod W. James, Philadelphia. In connection with the Institute, the American Homœopathic Ophthalmological and Otological Society will hold its third annual meeting. All interested are invited by the secretary, Dr. F. Parke Lewis, to be present. Important papers are expected.
Dr. F. W. Payne, of Boston, sails for Europe on the 24th of May, for a three months' trip.
NEW ENGLAND MEDICAL GAZETTE.
ON THE VALUE OF ERGOTINE IN PREVENTING THE FLOW OF MILK INTO THE BREAST.
BY E. M. HALE, M. D., CHICAGO.
EVERY physician has had, some time during his obstetric practice, cases like the typical one below narrated, wherein it is deemed of the most vital importance that the secretion of milk should be prevented, in order to avoid mastitis, and all its bad results.
The use of ergot in such cases is not to be considered in the light of a curative agent, selected according to the law of similia. Its action is that of a mechanical agent, and in a manner similar to compression of the mammæ by bandages, which has been recommended for the same purpose. I consider the use of ergot far safer than compression, which latter may injure the delicate structure of the breasts, and lay the foundation for scirrhus.
CASE. Mrs. T. was confined with her third child fourteen years after her last accouchement. The labor was instrumental, and although I was assisted by one of our best physicians, the child was still-born. The soft parts of the mother were so unyielding, and the head so large and incompressible, that such result was inevitable. After the delivery I was informed by the patient's mother that after the birth of her last child, which occurred at the eighth month, and was still-born, the flow of milk was enormous, and diffuse mastitis set in, resulting in large abscesses in both breasts. On examining the mammæ I found them very largely developed, and I shared the fears of the patient's mother that there would be trouble unless the flow of milk was prevented.
VOL. XIV. NO. VII.