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The Committee on Publication hopes the present volume is a true and faithful representation of the work of the Society at its last Annual Meeting. The Transactions were ready for distribution September 1st, and would have been by August 1st had not some of the papers been withheld until that date.
Especial attention has been paid to the List of Officers and Members, as given by counties, and also to the Alphabetical List. The Secretary of the Society read the proof of these names with the Chairman of the Publication Committee twice, and whatever improvement the list may exhibit over those of former years, is, in great part, due to his extensive knowledge of the membership, and to his painstaking care.
The reports from the County Societies are often imperfect; some of them were withheld until August 1st. Names were omitted, and others incorrectly spelled, thus requiring much investigation and correspondence to secure the present list. It is to be hoped that in the future perfect lists will be made in the county reports in order that the proceedings may be a complete record of the membership.
The Secretary has furnished the Publication Committee a list of the Presidents elect of the Society from its organization, which is presented in this volume for the first time.
Owing to the failure of the County Secretaries, in several instances, to report names of those who have served as Vice-Presidents from their counties, their titles have not been given or the year in which they served, as ordered in the By-Laws. The Secretary of the Society is preparing an authentic list of the Vice-Presidents from the Proceedings, to be published with the list of Presidents in the Transactions of the coming year.
The Publication Committee found that several of the amendments to the Constitution and By-Laws, made in previous years-back as far as 1876—had not been incorporated. The Constitution and By-Laws, as published in the present issue, are believed to be complete.
Since the last meeting of the State Society, County Societies have been organized in Adams, Morgan, Orange and Perry counties, and are duly represented in the list of members.
For the purpose of correcting errors in future editions the Committee request all observing them to correspond with the Secretary of the State Society.
COMMITTEE ON PUBLICATION.
PRACTICAL THOUGHTS FOR PHYSICIANS.
BY G. W. H. KEMPER, M. D., MUNCIE, IND.
"There are three ways you may try, there are three interests you have to consider, and it will depend upon the order in which you consider them how success will be measured out to you. The first interest is your own, and it may seem to you the greatest, while it is really the least. The second interest is truly greater, for it is the interest of your professional brothers; but the last is the greatest of all, for it is the interest of your patient, and with that is eternally related the interest of the art you practice.”—Prof. Syme.
Human life and health have always been cherished in civilized countries. Disease and pain led men to seek for remedies. The art of healing was the offspring of this desire. Physicians became the priests to minister to human ills. They welcome humanity at the threshhold of life, and soothe it at the portal of death. The profession of medicine has always assumed a responsible position, and has likewise commanded respect. True, men have tried to counterfeit and have sometimes prostituted our art, and so men. have dissembled in holy things, but impostors always imply real ones, just as hypocrisy implies that there is virtue.
Physicians and medicine have kept pace with all other forms of progress, and while even at the present day we have "physicians of no value" as in the days of Job, yet our profession has compared favorably with others. All have made mistakes. If the legal profession reminds us that Galen believed the arteries were for the transmission of air, we remind them that Blackstone believed in witchcraft. If doctors differ, so do judges. The clergy are no more a unit than we. We have "schools," and they have "creeds." We
differ on doses, and they differ on the modes of baptism. We differ on some vital questions, and they differ on the no less vital question of conversion. In short, it is human to differ.
"Devil with devil damned Firm concord holds, men only disagree."
Every man who enters the medical profession assumes a personal obligation to advance its interests. His own rights to a less, and the rights of others to a greater degree, are always to be kept in view.
First, as to personal obligations. A physician ought to have clean hands morally as well as antiseptically. With purity and with holiness I will pass my life and practice my art," is a vow as ancient as the Hippocratic oath, and sufficiently modern for the nineteenth century. There are personal obligations and precepts to be observed. "Do thyself no harm," is a Christian precept to remember, as well as "love thy neighbor."
According to Dr. Gairdner, the ideal physician "must be a man endowed with a deep sense of moral responsibility, so as to beget. confidence and unfailing trust in him on the part of his fellow-men -responsibility, therefore, to them in the first instance; but underlying that, and sustaining it as surely as the root and stem sustain the flower, a deeper and more latent responsibility to Him who is the source of all good, and therefore of all moral principle and moral responsibility whatever."
In addition to character a physician should possess learning and skill in his profession. We have more books and better books; more instruments and better instruments for operations and inspection of the human body and detection of disease; and more remedies at our command, more medicines, and better prepared medicines as a rule, under our control than were at the command of any class of physicians who have preceded us. Surely "unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required."
The physician of this age must be a constant student, and must strive to keep abreast with the wave of discovery and improvement. His library should consist of an assortment of the latest and best works. On his table should be seen one or more of our current medical periodicals. Quarterlies were valuable in their day, but
monthlies are better, and now weeklies have become active rivals, and are worthy of our support. Much of the literature of our medical periodicals is chaffy and shows evidence of rapid growth and ill maturation, but more of it shows thoughtful preparation, and is worthy of attention. The careful reader will readily discriminate between the two varieties.
Medical societies are a necessity, and should exist in every county in the State. Every honorable physician should be a member of the society in the county in which he resides, or, for valid reasons, of the county society nearest to his residence. Every member should be a live, earnest worker in his society, and labor to improve his own stock of knowledge as well as to instruct others. A medical man who stands aloof from medical societies is like a man trying to live the life of a Christian outside of the church; he may, but such a state is exotic. A large majority of such physicians, on inspection, will be found suffering from progressive professional ataxia.
According to a recent work' Indiana has one physician to every three hundred and ninety-six inhabitants. This ratio is only surpassed by Maryland (1 to 329), Colorado (1 to 341), and Oregon (1 to 353). The stringent laws of several of our adjoining States, especially Illinois, have, no doubt, had some effect in causing a class of practitioners to remove into the borders of our own State. The restrictions upon qualifications of physicians in this State are so limited that any applicant who has already practiced ten years, or who presents a diploma from any medical college, and pays the prescribed fee to the county clerk, can secure the necessary license permitting him to engage in the practice of medicine.
Unless our State is protected by some legal restrictions, it will eventually become a retreat for reckless and incompetent practitioners who spring up like mushrooms upon our own soil, or emigrate from hot-beds of neighboring States. Our State Board of Health, which is composed of members of the several schools of medicine, should have the right to decide the standing of medical colleges, rather than leave the decision to a political officer in each county who is incompetent to decide, and whose action may be biased by
1 Med. and Surg. Directory of the United States. R. L. Polk & Co.
Seriously, when we look at many of the certificates furnished by certain practitioners to county health officers, we are surprised at their lack of intelligence. What foundation have we upon which to build facts when the material furnished is largely alloyed with ignorance? As Dr. Billings says: "When 'teces,' 'colory in phantum,' 'colvia fontine,' 'hasphmar,' 'struck in on the air cells' are reported by 'physicians,' it is evidently unsafe to lay much stress on the scientific accuracy of diagnosis by the same reporter in other cases, even although the spelling may be more correct."
The regular profession is often misunderstood by the laity. We are accused of bigotry because we do not consult with irregulars, and are charged with foolish whims because we do not advertise, and countenance patents and nostrums. Consultations between physicians who hold unlike views on therapeutical agents avail nothing. One party must yield to the other, and what has the patient gained? In cases of emergency we respond to the call of every sufferer. Our code is "not inconsistent with the broadest dictates of humanity," and does not interdict, "under any circumstances, the rendering of professional services whenever there is a pressing or immediate need of them." On the contrary, "to meet the emergencies occasioned by disease and accident, and to give a helping hand to the distressed without unnecessary delay, is a duty fully enjoined on every member of the profession, both by the letter and spirit of the code."
We have no cause for receding from the position we have taken in regard to patents and nostrums. A pair of obstetrical forceps always reminds us of the selfishness of the Chamberlain family, while a scar of vaccination suggests the generosity of Jenner. The example of one debases, that of the other elevates. A nostrum supposes a specific, which in the order of things can not exist. No two patients having the same disease are affected alike, consequently one remedy for a disease is inappropriate and must be modified by the peculiar circumstances of individual cases.
One of the dangers that our profession has to fear is the tendency to litigation by patients and friends for alleged malpractice in surgery. It is a duty we owe to ourselves and the profession to
2 Addendum to Code, Resolution No. 3. This resolution is incorporated into the code, and is sufficiently broad and plain to stop all quibbling, both outside and inside the profession.