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there be any contra-indication to the use of anæsthetics-a point that should never be neglected. The delicate and most responsible task of administering the agent is usually committed to a junior physician, who has no knowledge whatever of the nature of his duties; he knows nothing of the different stages through which the patient is to pass, or of the value of the symptoms which appear during the administration; his inhaler is a towel well saturated, and directions often are to apply it directly to the face. The stage of profound coma having been reached, the operator seizes the scalpel, and all eyes are directed to its movements; the innocent junior, all absorbed in the operation, forgets his duty, unconsciously drops the towel upon the patient's face, and occasionally adds the weight of his body, to its suffocating effect, as he leans forward in the anxious pursuit of knowledge. At length a moan, or the collapse of the jetting arteries, or the suggestion of a bystander more interested in the sufferer than the operator, recalls attention to the condition of the patient. Naturally enough he has ceased to breathe; the operation is suspended; the messenger is dispatched for brandy; and in the mean time artificial respiration by the most improved method is attempted by every available means. Fortunately the patient is generally resuscitated, at least sufficiently to have the operation completed, and be taken to the ward. We do not here give
an overdrawn picture, for such scenes if haply not more unpleasant, may be witnessed in our hospitals almost weekly. The reform should commence with the mode of administration of these agents. A physician of known ability should be selected to administer the anaesthetic; we say physician, because he will not become so much interested in the operation as to forget his duties. In large hospitals where operations are frequent, it would be an act of prudence to appoint a competent physician for this special duty. To his care should be committed, so far as practicable, every patient who is about to submit to an operation. This is but that precaution which every surgeon exercises in private practice, and hence the few cases of deaths from anæsthetics which occur outside of our hospitals. If this degree of care is exercised in our hospitals and still fatal consequences follow the use of ether or chloroform, or both, the question may well be raised as to the propriety of rejecting the more dangerous.
PHYSICIAN AND APOTHECARY.
HE memory of many now living can recall the time when the physician was his own apothecary, his person all redolent of the composite aroma exhaling from the health-giving preparations which distended his ample portmanteau, and the daily entry in his ledger gave as prominent a place to pill and potion as to professional advice. In the good old times when cinchona bark, in spoonful doses, was the standard febrifuge, and calomel and jalap the officinal stimulant of torpid livers and sluggish bowels, the first lessons of the youthful candidate for Esculapian honors were in the use of the mortar and pestle, and much of his subsequent tuition consisted in acquiring the art of expertly moulding the pill at his fingers' ends. There was then little need of laws against the importation of impure drugs, for the physician selected each individual article, as he selected his lancet, according to its potency. There was then no more doubtful interpretation of the action of the pill than the lancet; if the latter refused to cut, the fault was charged to the temper of the steel, and not to a change in the type of the disease,
or a constitutional peculiarity of the patient; and so of the pill, if it did not produce its desired effect, it was esteemed inert, and cast aside as refuse. Purity in the drug market was then a necessity, for the purchaser applied it directly to its proper service, and personally tested its efficacy, equally as does the husbandman the quality of the seed which his own hand casts into the soil carefully prepared for it. But among the many divisions of labor which the progress of civilization induces, is that of physician and apothecary, in dispensing remedies to the sick. The increase of our cities, especially in wealth and in the refinements of a higher social state, has called into existence a class of shop-keepers who have monopolized the business of compounding and dispensing medicines. It will at once occur to every reflecting reader, that this division of labor is of great importance, not only to the progress of pharmacy, but equally to that of practical medicine. While these two departments remain united in a single profession, little improvement can be expected in either. The former will almost universally be regarded as wholly subordinate to the latter, and receive no other attention than is deemed necessary to success in the general practice of medicine. And yet that attention which the practitioner is required to give to the selection and preparation of drugs, withdraws him from the close and accurate study of those more recondite subjects on
which the progress of medicine depends. If we contrast the progress and present position of these departments in countries where they have been separated, with others where they are still more or less united, these statements are readily proved. In France and Germany the pharmaciens, or dispensing chemists, have long been a distinct class; they are compelled to qualify themselves by a thorough academic and pharmaceutical education, and then follow their chosen business exclusively. The result is seen in the elevation of this class as a scientific body, for as its representatives we may mention the names of Liebig, Robiquet, Pelletier, Persoz, Dumas, Trommsdorf, Varentrapp, Fresenius, etc. Their innumerable and invaluable contributions, not only to pharmacy but to all departments of chemical science, will occur to every reader. The part which these eminent pharmaciens take in the routine of the druggists' business, and the social and political rank to which they have attained, are well given in the following anecdote by Mr. Mackay, of Edinburgh:
"Professor Christison repaired to Paris about thirty-four years ago, to study practically the higher branches of chemistry. His adviser there, the late eminent physiologist, Dr. Edwards, recommended, to his surprise and amazement, that he should place himself under the tuition of a Chemist and Druggist. The Professor's surprise, however, ceased, when he found he was to have for his teacher, under the designation above given, the late amiable, inventive, scientific Robiquet. M. R.'s dwelling communicated with his