“THE QUACK IN THE CRISIS.”– This is the heading of an item in the J. A. M. A., Jan.4. From it is the following: “Who is found on the battle-field attending the dying and wounded, the quack or the regular doctor?” The “regular,” of course, because he allows no others the opportunity, and then brags of the fact that they are not there and calls them “quacks.” Now, Jama, that is not a nice thing for you to print; also, in the light of facts it is rather assinine, for, given the opportunity, the other doctors would be quite as a brave on the field of battle as you are and quite as ready to go. Drop such stuff, dear brother!
THE ORIGIN OF “QUACK.”–DR. J. R. Borland (Eclectic Review, Dec.) quotes a note to be found in Cullens “First Lines of the Practice of Physic,” 1805, concerning Paracelsus, who introduced mercury, or quicksilver, into medicine. The German people termed those who afterwards followed his practice in the 15th century “quack-salber” doctor, i.e., “quick silver,” and this was in time shortened into “quack” doctors. Time was when the esteemed brother was quite noted for the use of this drug.
A NEW CANCER TREATMENT.—The latest cancer treatment is “Fischeras method, as follows: Fresh sterile human fetuses of 2- 6 months of intra-uterine life are ground or chopped up and placed in a flask of sterile physiological salt solution,” etc., etc. This emulsion is administered medical journal, the New York State Journal of Medicine for January, otherwise one might think that it was parody on the broth brewed by Macbeths witches.
ARE THE BACILLI A MYTH?—Two French scientists, Albert and Alexander Mary, have recently published a little work that is causing comment in the European medical journals. The title is Synthese du “Bacille” de Koch. (Jules Rousset, Paris.) Have not seen it, but learn from the journals that in short, the authors deny, the existence of Kochs bacilli, say they are but a chemical precipitation, are the result of the action of the disease, and the phagocyte is the direct product of the microbe, a third stage apparently.
Some men have written the authors that their brochure is “nonsense,” but they come back with the assertion that, on the contrary, the prevailing theories are nonsense. The journals are not committing themselves very ardently on the subject either way; probably they realize that the “dawn of science,” “standing on the shore of knowledge” and things like that are something more than poetical figures of speech, and that when there is more light futility of much that passes current today will be seen.
THE WAY OF PATIENTS.—Sir William Gull hardly ever gave physic. A patient of his, at Guys Hospital, says a writer in B. M.J., made a good recovery form typhoid without the usual and too often strong drugs. Sir William congratulated him and the patient replied: “No thanks to you!” This ungracious retort was made because the patient had received no drastic dosing. This reminds us of an honest Irishman we once knew, who, after urging, by a bunch of us, took his ills to a homoeopathic doctor; on leaving the doctors office he flung the vial of pellets into the street with a muttered “tell with it!” governed by the same spirit that possessed Gulls patient.
A TYPHOID DILEMMA.—The official journal of the A. M. A. is worried because a certain newspaper has swallowed whole the talk given out about typhoid vaccination and said: “It will be a boon in towns where water-purification plants cannot be built because of the expense.” While our esteemed A. M. A. contemporary has our hearty support in wishing that the newspapers view will not find many supporters still we are inclined to believe that the newspaper is quite right in thus arguing from the rose- colored premises laid down by the A. M. A. doctors. They tell the newspaper men that the protection is certain and absolutely harmless, and any one can see that it is cheaper than filtration plant.
AT THE CONFESSIONAL.–” There is something wrong us–the medical profession. That something we believe to be the pernicious habit of prescribing proprietary mixtures, for the public is awaking to the fact that there is very little difference between the secret or semisecret ethical proprietary prescribed by the physician and the secret or semisecret patient medicine bought over the counter.”–Journal of the A. M. A., Dec.21.
A POINT SETTLED AS TO TYPHOID.– The student doesnt often go to Life, but –you can learn everywhere. That journal recently printed a letter form C. T. Stokes, Surgeon General, United States Navy in which he said that “the typhoid fever bacillus, or germ,” is a “vegetable organization.” This is official, and, therefore, important, because of the prevalent idea that it was from human dejecta and, therefore, it was supposed by many to be of animals origin.
FILES AND SUPERSTITIONS?—“Insect Porters and Bacterial Infection” is the title of a lecture delivered before the Royal Society of Physicians recently by Dr. C. J. Martin, Lancet, Jan. 4. In it he mentioned the observation made in India that enteric fever had a very definite season, following the coming of the rains. “The abundance of flies increased also soon after the beginning of the rains, but earlier than the admissions for enteric fever.”
Another observation is that in Australia (it probably holds true elsewhere) when a hot , dry wind blows flies must seek shelter or they dry up and die. The theory is that the flies carry the disease, which may be true, but is at variance with the older observation–or is it superstition?–that in seasons when flies are notably scarce, or absent, epidemics are fact it opens up a curious field for investigators for it is undoubtedly true that the flies and the fever come together from the rainy season. Has any reader observed anything bearing on this matter?
DEATH AND THE DOCTORS.— The statistician of the A. M. A. reports the death of 2,120 physician in the United States and Canada during 1912.
How many were graduated is not stated, but it is doubtful if they reached that number. Ten years or more of study for the privilege of risking a turn-down by the Examining Boards is not an attractive for young men; neither is the fact that they are tied down to one. State and after a few years are unable to move elsewhere, because of inability to answer the “latest” questions. These arbitrary laws were designed to put down irregular practitioners, but in effect they tend to make the pathway of that class easier, because the modern much-studied and expensive physician cannot afford to go to the small towns. The numerous two-years men are passing away- who will take their places?
EXAMINING AND LICENSING BOARDS.—-The spirit of the law establishing these boards was to prevent incompetent men from practicing medicine. In time these boards assumed a power to throw our colleges, a power which seems to be contrary to that given them by letter of the law. Today we have a condition in the noble profession of medicine that would make the gods on Mt. Olympus roar with laughter at their companion who presides over medicine.
The men from an old university or college may practice in this State, but may not even apply for “examination” in that; and, on the other hand, the exculded men are permitted to practice in other States, where the first named are, in turn, exculded. One can imagine the laughing gods asking Apollo whether the great profession, ruled by his son, AEsculapius, about which he has bragged so much concerning its lofty character, is, after all, on the same level as the tariff on wool,steel, sugar and the other articles of merchandise.
THE OUTLAW, SAMUEL THOMPSON.-All over the country the allopathic politicians are as busy as bees trying to gather in profitable legislation for their diminishing party. It was about 1819 that their predecessors tried to pass a law outlawing Samuel Thompson, the old herbalist. They did succeed in having him imprisoned for a time. But in those days there were men in their ranks animated by the true spirit of medicine, men disdaining the petty spirit of the tradesman. Among these was Professor Benjamin Waterhouse, of the Harvard Medical School, who said that Thompson “cured and relieved many disorders” which his persecutors could not.
Also: Had John Hunter, whom I well knew, been born and bred where Samuel Thompson was he would have been another such a man.”
THE CAUSE OF RHEUMATISM AS SEEN BY MODERN EYES.-Dr. W. P. S. Barnson (British Med. Jour., Nov. 23) opens that number with ” A Clinical Study on the Avenue of Rheumatic Infection.” The conclusion arrived at in this lengthy paper are that Sydenhams chorea and rheumatic fever are due to the same infecting agent; that the chorea depends on emotional stimuli; that the principal avenues of infections are nose and throat, and the first essential of “rational treatment” lies there. These are the conclusions-boiled down. The part of wisdom for the homoeopath not to neglect his Rhus tox., Bryonia and the other remedies that cured rheumatism before it was discovered that it is primarily a nose and throat disease.
THE “MISSING LINK.”-Mr. Chas.Dawson, of Lewes, England, had discovered the remains of a creature which some members of the Geological Society think is the “missing link ” that Darwin could not find. The find “links modern man in some respects very closely with anthropoid apes.” The missing link in the doctrine of evolution is the fact that if evolution is a natural law it must be always operative and we should find it at work all about us-but we dont neither did Darwin.
A CASE OF ARNICA POISONING.-Dr. Proctor-Sims (Br. M. J., Dec. 21) writes of a young married woman who came to him “with a history of having fallen a few days previously whilst going downstairs. A sympathetic friend advised an application of tincture of arnica to the bruised parts, and the treatment had evidently been carried out with great thoroughness. When seen by me the lumbar and sacral regions were covered with a red, angry, and extremely irritable erythematous rash. One side of the face was puffed, and there was a rash there in a appearance very like urticaria.
There was a similar rash on one forearm.I was assured that none of the arnica had been applied to these latter two parts. The rash and irritation subsided in a few days under combined treatment by saline purges and a sedative ointment. I thought the case of interest because though arnica has been expunged from the Pharmacopoeia as an uncertain and often dangerous remedy, it seem still to linger in the minds of some members of the public as a specific in certain forms of injury.”
Arnica is very useful, internally (3d) and externally, for heavy blows or concussions. When used externally it should be diluted with twenty parts of water. For cuts, bruises, lacerations or any bleeding surface Succus Calendula is far better; it can be applied freely, undiluted, with entire safety and splendid results, being at once very healing and preventing suppuration far more effectively than bichloride, etc.,
DOCTOR AND PATIENT.-When a man puts forth something more than a platitude we like to report it. This man had been in the swim for twenty years or more; knew allopathy, homoeopathy and all the rest. A case was mentioned in which the hypodermic of morphia had seemed to make the case worse.
Some one said, “Why not let the patient fight it out under the indicated remedy?” You cant do it,” was the reply of the experienced one, they demand quick relief and if you dont give it some other fellow will. Youve got to live.” “Then it is a question of bread and butter,” “Yes” “what of the high ideals?” A shrug of the shoulders was the answer. And yet we believe they are not dead in any school of medicine.
THE EARLY DAYS OF OHIO VALLEY MEDICINE.-Otto Juettner, who writes “M.D., F.R.S.M. (Eng).” after his name, recently real a paper on this subject before the Ohio Valley Historical Society that is interesting. One of the noted men was Benjamin Winslow Dudley, who was born in Virginia in 1785, but emigrated to Kentucky when one year of age. He was the founder of the medical department of the Transylvania University, at Lexington, Ky. Transylvania was the original name for Kentucky.
He studied at the University of Pennsylvania (Benjamin Rush was then in the Faculty) and, after some adventures, studies surgery at Paris, France. Returning to Kentucky he was in at the founding of the medical school at Lexington. In time he had a quarrel with a brother professor-what barbarous times-and fought a duel with him in place of back-biting. Dudley was missed, but his bullet severed an artery of his opponent, and then the surgeon in him came to the force and he saved the life of the man he had shot, and they were afterwards warm friends.
But what we are leading up to is the fact that he performed over 600 this percentage in mind one will read the next fanfare of modern surgery in a slightly modified light. Each generation ought to be better, for it has light of all the preceding generation to guide it, but this is not always utilized. We are too apt to think we know it all simply because we are part of the temporary “latest.”
THE RISE, SPREAD AND FALL OF DISEASE.-Each decade sees the rise of some new disease, or the appearance of an old, old one in new trappings. At present it is poliomyelitis. As is always the case, the learned ones are looking about for the causes of the trouble. Pretty much everything has been accused of carrying these invisible germs-the pesky Musca domestica, the Culex sollicitqans, Pediculus vestimenti, Cimex lecturelarius, cats, dogs, human beings and nearly every thing else.
Now, Claude, this is not “knocking” the Professor, but only a statement of fact. It seems, to some, at least, that such “epidemics” are like the wind-whence they come and wither they go we know not. There is a big unexplored field awaiting you, Claude, but you must go beyond microbes and other bugs to things or causes back of them. You must get closer to great elementary causes. A greater field than Darwins lies shrouded before you.
VIS MEDICATRIX NATURAE.-In olden times the allopaths said that nature cured those entrusted to homoeopathic treatment. The was-and is-the fact that more got well under vis medicatrix naturae than under the orthodox treatment, which fact presented the obvious horns of a dilemma. On this point the following from a letter by Dr. A. F. Millar (Br. M. J., Dec. 28) is illuminating:
“You no doubt had in mind a passage in Professor Huxleys essay, The Struggle for Existence in Human Society. Huxley was talking with Sir William Gull on this subject, When Stuff! said Sir William, in nine times out of ten nature does not want to cure the man; she wants to put him in his coffin.
“Nine times out of ten seems rather a tall order; and I have always been suprised that Huxley accepted the statement without question.
Most of us feel rather proud if we think that we have defeated the evident intentions of nature, when those intentions are malignant, in one case out of ten.-I am, etc.”
A NEW ORDER PROPOSED.-The following is clipped from the Eclectic Review for January:
“The Health authorities in several States seem to favor abolishing small-pox quarantine, taking the position that a small -pox patient is harmless to those who have been successfully vaccinated, and that there need to be no sympathy wasted on persons who decline to be protected. The patients house is, of course, to be placarded to warn the public. Some people are beginning to get rather tried of protecting those who refuse to protect themselves. This feeling is especially noticeable among taxpayers who are obliged to support pest houses.
The anti- vaccinationists are taunting the health authorities with inconsistency, and ask: IF Vaccination does protect your children, why are you so afraid of mine? This is a question which will sooner or later have to be satisfactorily answered, or the whole compulsion system must collapse. In pointing out these facts American Medicine sensibly asks:”
” Why would it not be a good plan to ignore the antis, and then if the unvaccinated children get small-pox, put the parents in jail for criminal neglect? These abnormal people have “fixed ideas,” Which cannot be eradicated. They resent force and will ignore compulsory laws as they always have done. They have enough influence to defeat such bills in legislatures and the only thing to do is to insist on punishment when the neglect causes disease. Prevention has proved impossible.”
Try it on, brother sinner, try it on!.