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THE NEW ENGLAND MEDICAL GAZETTE, VOL. XVII.
It seems but a little time since the first number of the first volume of this journal went to press. Already its volumes fill a long shelf, and a review of its original and selected articles would exhibit a favorable comparison, both in quality and manner, with those of any other medical journal published. With deep regret we are compelled to announce that the able editor who, for the past three years, has held the sole editorial management, is obliged to relinquish a great part of that work; but at the same time he joins in an association of physicians which will unitedly perform the editorial work, and will, we trust, bring to the pages of the GAZETTE a freshness, clearness, and vigor that will make it more than ever valuable.
While it will be our aim to do our work well, let us remind our readers that they have it in their power to add greatly to the value of the journal by a cordial and thoughtful assistance. No especial changes will be made in the form or in the opinions of the GAZETTE. While we shall welcome to its pages all facts and experiences which will tend to elucidate doubtful points in medicine, and shall allow the greatest latitude in the opinions herein expressed, we shall endeavor to avoid, as far as possible, the vague and illogical theories and personal polemics which weaken rather than aid our progress.
VOL. XVII. NO. I.
HOMEOPATHIC INSANE HOSPITAL.
PETITIONS are in circulation throughout the State, asking that homoeopathic treatment may be accorded to the inmates of insane asylums when desired. With four hundred physicians of our school in the State of Massachusetts, and the tens of thousands of citizens who use only this method of treatment, it would seem that a petition from them in a matter of such evident justice should not be unheeded by the Legislature of the State. But as all reforms need to be urgently and persistently pressed in order to be successful, so this will require the earnest effort of all our friends. Let the petition be circulated at once in every quarter. Even citizens who employ only allopathic treatment for themselves when sick should be willing to allow homopathic treatment to those who prefer it; and many such would sign the petition if asked. The assistance of the press, the clergy, and of all philanthropic people should be secured in this matter. A few days of earnest work given to this subject may obtain in Massachusetts an asylum for the insane which, like that of New York, shall be a credit to the profession, an honor to the State, and a lasting benefit to the people.
“DEATH OF HOMEOPATHY.”
It is now just forty years since that delightful poet and quasi physician, Oliver Wendell Holmes, gave to the Boston public two lectures on "Homoeopathy and its Kindred Delusions." In these lectures homoeopathy was denounced as the most absurd of all medical delusions; and the prophecy was then made that it would be short-lived, and that "not many years can pass away before the same curiosity excited by one of Perkins's Tractors will be awakened at the sight of the Infinitesimal Globules. If it should claim a longer existence, it can only be by falling into the hands of the sordid wretches who wring their bread from the cold grasp of disease and death in the hovels of ignorant poverty." Thirty years passed away, and in 1872 the "lifeless delusion," as Holmes called it in 1842, had become a power in the land. Its practitioners were numbered by thousands, and its believers by hundreds of thousands. In Boston it had a dispensary for the sick
poor, at which nearly 1,000 were treated yearly. An effort had been made to establish a hospital to which the poor could resort and have homoeopathic treatment. In fact, its institutions, its societies, and its practitioners were prosperous, and exhibited as yet no sign of the much-wished-for decay. There being no prospect of its dying a natural death, the councillors of the great Massachusetts Medical Society in secret conclave determined to kill it: First, by declaring it arrant quackery; second, by expelling, as unprincipled men, any who practised it; and third, by forbidding members to hold any professional relations with these "charlatans." The result of this action is best seen in the growth of homoeopathy in New England since that performIn Boston the number of homoeopathic physicians has increased from sixty to upwards of one hundred; in New England from five hundred to eight hundred. A medical school in connection with Boston University has been established, which, with thorough instruction in every department, has already graduated two hundred and fifty physicians; a hospital has been founded which has cared for upwards of 1,600 patients, and has secured of funds for running expenses, for land, buildings, and permanent funds, upwards of $250,000; and the dispensary has enlarged its work from 973 patients in 1871 to 11,862 in 1881. But this growth is not confined to New England. Twenty-six State medical societies and one hundred and nine local societies exist in the United States, with a membership exceeding 2,000. Forty-two hospitals, with 1,600 beds, employ wholly homoeopathic treatment, while more than 100,ooo poor patients are annually treated at homœopathic dispensaries. Moreover, seventeen medical journals are sustained, and eleven medical colleges are educating at the present moment upwards of 1,300 students in homoeopathic opinions and preparing them for homoeopathic practice. The success of these practitioners, the quality of their patrons, and the amount of charitable work performed would indicate that the "sordid wretches" and the scarcity of "infinitesimal globules" prophesied belong not to this generation. May the "death of homoeopathy" continue, in the future as in the past, to be confined to the realms of prophecy, until, at least, science shall given to humanity a better method of healing.
MEDICAL SOCIETY PRINCIPLES.
ABOUT three months ago, a much-honored colleague of Dover, N. H., sent me a printed set of principles governing a medical organization in that city. They were intended to harmonize medical creeds: that is, homoeopathic physicians must cease to call themselves by that odious name, and those who never did call themselves so, remain what they were before; namely, doctors who practise anything and everything but odious homoeopathy. This is the way they did it:
"DOVER, N. H., February, 1880.
"We, the undersigned, assuming that entire liberty of thought and freedom of opinion are absolutely essential to real progress in the science and art of medicine,
"Resolve, First, That we will in no way approve, sanction, or hold allegiance to any organization, society, or name, which, by giving exceptional prominence and authority to any exclusive medical dogma or system of practice, tends to limit such freedom of thought or opinion.
"Second, That we will recognize, professionally, only such honorable and well-accredited physicians as in their medical associations and conduct conform to the spirit of the foregoing resolution."
The following is a copy of the essential portion of my reply to the much-honored colleague in Dover :
"Dear Doctor, — The difference between the two societies is that the American Institute (and similar societies) will admit every physician regardless of method of practice, while your soci will not, unless a physician has no preference for any method, or unless he professes to have none.
"The time will come when there will be even more and better methods of practice than we now have; and the time must come when all well-accredited physicians, regardless of their special methods of practice, will be allowed to join any general medical society.
"We have abolished creeds or confessions of faith in our Massachusetts State and local societies, as well as in the Institute of Homœopathy. You, of New Hampshire, do not object to any creed or method of practice or 'pathy'; you admit them all, provided those who make use of them agree not to name their methods of practice. You allow them to practise a distinct
method, to write papers concerning it, to discuss it; but they must not call it by its name, or out they go.
"We, on the other hand, do not propose to limit any man's practice, nor to prescribe or proscribe the name he chooses to call it by. If, in our societies, we limit our labors mostly or exclusively to a certain method of practice, to its improvement and possible perfection, it is because we are limited by time, strength, and ability to do the amount of work on hand; not because we proscribe, prescribe, or exclude other methods of curing which should be free to call themselves by any name or definition suited to their wants.
"The principles upon which alone medical societies can be founded are:
"1. Every society has the absolute right to define the limit and kind of scientific work it proposes to do.
It has no right to attempt to limit or proscribe freedom of thought or definition of method of practice.
"This is perhaps what your programme of February, 1880, tried to express, but got hopelessly and inextricably mixed. Your first sentence proclaims freedom; your second sentence (first 'resolve') gives your sentiments of freedom a terribly black eye; consequently you do not see it, as I fear."
THE DIFFERENTIATION OF CROUP FROM DIPHTHERIA. BY W. H. MORSE, M. D., PITTSFIELD, MASS.
THERE is certainly an existent relation between the two diseases. Laryngitis accompanied by membranous inflammation may arise from the contagion of diphtheria, but it is just as much a product of measles, scarlatina, or typhoid fever, without exposure to diphtheria; of accidental irritation, as contact of acids, inhalation of steam, or pressure of a foreign body; of cut throat, occurring as a sequel; of contact of foul air and water; and no doubt of other causes. An influence which in one person produces croup may in another produce diphtheria; yet it is questionable if a person suffering from croup can communicate to another by contagia the membranous condition which in the second person will be distinctly diphtheritic.
Two or three years ago, a committee of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society defined diphtheria as a zymotic disease, accompanied by membranous exudation, and which may or may not be accompanied by croup. Croup, they say, is a term signifying a laryngeal obstruction in children, accompanied by febrile movement. There is nothing provisional in these definitions, but