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an offense of which no gentleman can afford to be guilty; and (2) Rebellion against the authority of the society, of which no man who loves his profession can afford to be guilty. See Transactions for 1881, pp. 91, 92, 93.
3. THE WORK OF THE COUNTY SOCIETIES.
There is an old maxim that no chain is stronger than its weakest link. Now in our plan of organization our continued success or ultimate failure depends to a very great extent on the efficiency of the county medical societies. We are glad to be able to say that many of these are well organized and admirably managed. Upon these the Association builds her hopes. They are in very deed the confederates of her power.
We are also glad to be able to say that, taking the county societies generally, there can be no question that they have grown gradually into better organization and greater efficiency during the last decade, and especially during the last few years. But for those who have made most progress there is still room for improvement; and of a considerable number of them the following statement, quoted from our last annual report, still remains true:
"Many of our county societies are not what they ought to be, are defective in discipline and in professional and public spirit, and perform their important duties in such formal and perfunctory fashion as contributes but little to their own good reputation, and quite as little, it is to be feared, to the benefit of the profession and the people whom it is their duty to serve.
"Here is now the weak place in our armor, the vulnerable heel of Achilles in our organization, namely, the comparative inefficiency of our county societies. And it is to the county societies accordingly that we must direct our most anxious attention.
"With their eyes wide open, and something of judicial deliberation, they have undertaken the discharge of important public duties; and they must be made to understand that they have got to perform these duties with a decent approximation to a reasonable standard of efficiency; or else that it will become obligatory for the state Association, as the faithful servant of the profession and of the state under the law, to cut them off from her communion and fellowship by the withdrawal of their charters.
"Negligence and procrastination-these are the rocks upon which the county societies will founder, if they founder at all. Only let a majority of the members of any county society do, every one for himself, the simple duties that devolve upon him individually on account of his society membership, and scccess is as certain to bring laurels to that society as that the night follows the day."
We know very well the difficulties that lie in the way of many of the county societies, and we do not underrate their magnitude. We know that the members are often scattered over considerable areas of country, that the roads are often in such bad condition as very seriously to
impair travel upon them, and very often when there is but one practitioner in a neighborhood he has patients that he cannot leave.
But in spite of all these difficulties, those that we have mentioned and those that we have not mentioned, it is still possible, in almost every county in the state, to keep up an efficient county medical society. Frequent meetings, while very much to be desired, on many accounts, are not absolutely necessary to efficiency. The more frequent the meetings the better; but it is quite possible so to arrange and manage the business of a society that it could all be reasonably well done if the society held only one meeting in a year. In such case the society would have to devolve a great deal of its business on its officers, especially on its president and its board of censors.
We are afraid that the presidents of the societies often fail to appreciate the extent and character of the obligation imposed upon them by their official positions. The president of a society should, indeed, feel that he is the head of it-that it is his duty to think for it and act for it-to see that all the other officers and members come up to the measure of their respective duties, and that nothing is neglected that ought to be done. What would become of an army if the general in command was not continually on the watch to preserve its discipline and promote its welfare.
More important still are the boards of censors: (1) In their capacity as censors; (2) as boards of medical examiners; and (3) as committees of public health. In every county the board of censors should be selected with a view: (1) To the efficiency of its members; and (2) To the facility with which they can meet together. And this last consideration is often of so much importance that it should be allowed to outweigh the other. Better have a censor of less ability who can be depended on to attend the meetings of his board, than a much abler man whose services can hardly ever be made available. If possible, the whole number of the censors, or at least a majority of them, should reside in the county town, or very near it, so that there may never be any trouble to get a quorum for the discharge of business.
Once properly organized the board of censors should meet at least once a month, and at these meetings they should: (1) Look after the general welfare of the society; (2) Examine applicants for certificates to practice medicine, or to commence the study of it; and (3) Receive and canvass the monthly report of the county health officer, and see that the vital statistics law is properly administered.
The board of censors, acting as a committee of public health, as we have said, should meet at least once a month; they should have regular times for meeting; and they should meet promptly when the time comes. It will be found in practice best to have these meetings about the middle of every month. No member should remain away on the plea that there is nothing to do; there ought to be something to do, and if there is nothing to do, that alone is quite sufficient proof that there is something wrong. See Transactions for 1882, pp. 140, 141, 142.
4. FURTHER REMARKS ON THE WORK OF THE COUNTY SOCIETIES. Under this head we can add very little to what we said in regard to the same subject last year. For the present and for many years to come one of the most important functions of this Association must be the fostering, the building up, and the supervision of the county societies. The machinery we have for this purpose seems to be about as complete as we can make it. We have the president of the Association, whose watchful care should be extended to evey county in the state. We have the two vice-presidents, whose special and particular duty it is to look after the discipline and efficiency of the county societies. We have the revision of the roll of the county societies on the last day of every annual session; and the reference of delinquent societies to the board of censors for investigation, with the subsequent reports thereon. With all this many of the county societies are not what they ought to be. In some of the counties the material for the construction of county societies is extremely scanty, and sometimes some of that little is not of the best quality; and under such circumstances the societies are bound to be weak and more or less inefficient. But with the rapid progress in population and wealth of these counties these special difficulties will diminish continually, and our societies will grow larger and stronger. It sometimes happens again that in counties where the material is abuudant and seemingly of good quality the county societies are allowed to drag along from year to year under very imperfect discipline, and doing very poor work. Such discouragements as these are not to be avoided. They are inevitable in the nature of things; but they too are temporary and will pass away in each special instance, perhaps to reappear somewbere else. So our societies must have their ups and downs. One year under the blighting influence of inefficient officers, or from want of harmony among the members, a society may drag behind. Another year the same society having found a competent leader, may press to the front, and cover itself with honors. Uninterrupted progress, then, is not to be expected; but let us see to it that all along the line the general tendency is upward and onward—is to better discipline, greater efficiency, and more unselfish work. In one word, we must labor always, in season and out of season, for the aggrandizement of the county societies. See Transactions for 1887, pp. 156-7.
THE REGULATION OF THE PRACTICE OF MED
SUMMARY OF CONTENTS:
The Medical Laws of the State-The Chapter of Medical Laws in the Civil Code-Amendment to Section 1305 of the Code-The Article in the Criminal Code Prescribing the Penalties The Code of Ordinances for the Government of the Boards of Medical Examiners-Ordinance in Relation to the Boards of Medical Examiners-Form of Application for Examination-Form of Notice to Medical Colleges-New Rules for the Examining Boards-The Rule in Relation to Moral Character-The Rule in Relation to Scholarship— How Illegal Doctors Should be Treated-Appeals from County Boards-The Examination of Druggists-Commentaries and Explanations-Historical Sketch-The Administration of the Law-The Duties of the Medical Societies-The Duties of the Examining Boards-The Enforcement of the Penalties-A Special RecommendationMemorial-The Art of Asking Questions—A Plea for the County Boards-The Necessity for Promptness—Applicants to be Examined in their Own Counties.
THE MEDICAL LAWS OF THE STATE.
The Laws and Ordinances for the Regulation of the Practice of Medicine in Alabama are contained in the following documents (1) Chapter 3, Title 13, Part I, of the Code of 1886; (2) The Act to Amend Section 1305 of the Code, approved February 27th, 1889; (3) Article IV, Chapter 8, Title 2, Part V, in the Criminal Code of 1886; and (4) The General Ordinances Prescribing Rules for the Boards of Medical Examiners enacted by the State Medical Association. All of these here follow in their proper order.
THE CHAPTER OF MEDICAL LAWS IN THE CIVIL CODE.
PHYSICIANS, DENTISTS, DRUGGISTS.
§ 1296. (1516-17, 1534). Medical boards may be established by court of county commissioners.-The court of county commissioners of any county in which there is no board of medical examiners organized in accordance with the constitution of the medical Association of the State of Alabama, and in affiliation with the Association, may establish therein a medical board, to be composed of not less than three nor more than seven physicians of good standing, resident in the county, and such board shall have the authority hereinafter conferred; but the existence and authority thereof must terminate whenever a board of medical examiners is organized in the county in accordance with the constitution of the medical Association of the state, and in affiliation with the Association.
§ 1297 (1518-19, 1526). Authority and duty of such medical board. Such medical board must examine all applicants for a license to practice medicine in the county, and must examine all applicants for a license as a druggist, or to deal in drugs and medicines in the county. If the applicant for a license to practice medicine, on such examination, is found duly qualified, and is of good moral character, the board, on a payment of a fee of five dollars for the use of the board, must issue to him a license to practice medicine in the county, in any one or more of its branches; and if the applicant for a license, as a druggist, or to deal in drugs and medicines, is found on such examination, to be duly qualified, and is of good moral character, the board must issue to him a license, which is authority for him to pursue the occupation of a druggist, or to deal in drugs and medicines in the county.
§ 1398 (1522). Graduate of medical schools.-A regular graduate of a medical college in the United States, having a diploma, is entitled to practice medicine without license in a county having only a medical board established by the court of county commissioners, upon the record of his diploma in the office of the judge of probate of the county; and for the record thereof, the judge of probate is entitled to a fee of one dollar.