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Guided, therefore, by our convictions of duty, deploring the dissension which has been most unwisely and needlessly brought about in this State, appreciating fully the importance of the step to be taken, and regretting its necessity, be it
Resolved, That the members of the medical profession of the State of New York, here convened, do now unite in forming an organization to be known as the NEW YORK STATE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION.
DR. FREDERICK HYDE, of Cortland County, said:
MR. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN: I rise to second the motion for the adoption of the preamble and resolution just offered. Dr. Flint, believing that the paper embodies most clearly the points which this representative body of the medical profession desires most earnestly to consider:
First. Whether we shall continue our associate relations with the New York State Medical Society, since a minority of its members, under the shield of a two-thirds rule of a vote obtained in a meeting of the Society of a smaller attendance than had occurred for several years, repudiated and still continue to denounce the code of ethics adopted by the American Medical Association in 1847.
Since the vote taken by the Society at its annual meeting in 1883, repeating its repudiation of the Ethical Code of the American Medical Association, for myself I have seen but one safe, one honorable course to pursue, which is to organize a Voluntary State Medical Association.
This course would continue our representation, as it formerly existed, in the American Medical Association, giving to us the full benefits of the united learning, wisdom, and labors of the whole medical profession, which is already national.
Shall we join with the adherents of the so-called "New Code," in severing our union with an organization which proved the opening of a new era in developing the power of associated action, as seen in the unification of the medical profession of the United States ?
The history of our National Society proves that the first words spoken or written upon the subject of its organization were within
the Medical Society of the State of New York. When its organic structure was finished and it received its title, all its signers freely pledged their honor with a sacredness of purpose not always realized when acting under statutory enactments.
We believe that in the councils of a united, properly educated medical profession is a fitter place for the correction of errors of plan, or revision of its ethical enactments, and the creation and maintenance of the standards of professional attainments, than in a seceded section, with a code so pliant as to permit the freest intercourse with all sorts of doctors, even within the sacredness of the council-room of the sick, because the leveling process of statute enactments declares them legal practitioners.
Is it not true that a large majority of the physicians of this State are unwilling to rest tamely under the imputation of carrying on a war against the united profession of the whole country, because it respects the ethics of the American Medical Association ?
Why are some of the counties of our once united State Medical Society, embracing an important membership always punctual and always influential, to be absent from its meeting tomorrow?
I can speak for the section of the State in which I have the honor to claim a professional home, that they are heartily tired of a contest which was brought upon them wrongfully.
They are anxious to see, without more loss of time and continual humiliation, a new State Voluntary Organization in harmony with the parent Association and the avowed object and prestige of the New York State Society at its formation, with the added incentive to young men to become its fellows at once if worthy, instead of passing a probation which may admit them when gray-headed, or still leave them vaguely expectant.
We declare that a course of conduct which disintegrates the medical profession is wrong; that it weakens the power of the profession to elevate itself by improved methods of conducting medical education, which to-day is the desideratum above all others.
I ask you: Has not the time come for organizing a new Voluntary Medical Association in the State of New York, on such a basis as will keep us in honorable alliance with the whole profession
and redeem us from the charge of having seceded from the National Association?
Pardon me, gentlemen, for my attachment to the American Medical Association; as I had the honor of putting my signature to its constitution, by-laws, and code of ethics, on the day of its formation, and as I continue a permanent member up to this hour.
Would that the spirit of our gathering to-night might visit the. great number of our professional brethren who are waiting for the key-note of a United Profession!
Our words of greeting to them are, an undivided medical profession on this continent under the folds of one flag.
Gentlemen, let us, before this meeting adjourns, adopt provisional measures for the formation of a Medical Association of the Empire State, which shall restore it to its once proud position in a united medical profession in line with her sister States.
But for the large, loyal permanent membership of the American Medical Association and the invincible purpose of the county medical societies of our State to be represented in the councils of the Association, our meeting to-night would not have been graced by the presence of the distinguished and renowned President of the American Medical Association, Dr. Austin Flint, Sr.
While engaged in the deliberations of this evening, a crowd of hallowed memories are here, reminding us of our service of delightful fellowship in both the State and National Societies. These sacred associations speak thrillingly to us of duties we owe to our exalted profession, that its grandest mission may be achieved.
DR. E. M. MOORE, of Monroe County, said:
MR. CHAIRMAN: I can not believe that the time has arrived for the formation of an asssociation separated from the State Society. In a matter like this, impatience is a fault. We should bide the time which is necessary to have a full expression of opinion from the whole State. You have already polled the State and find those of our opinions in a large majority. I have ever a faith that questions before the people are decided rightly. If they are incorrectly determined to-day, the decision is not final. Consciousness of wrong will never allow the matter to remain undisturbed. Medical men in remote districts have not yet made
their influence felt. Delegates are elected for four years and have often misrepresented their constituencies. We should be patient and try again and again, until a sufficient time has elapsed to collect the correct opinion of the profession over the whole State. If we gain at the coming election an increase of votes as compared with the last one, my opinion is that we should renew our resolution for a vote the succeeding year, and so on until there can be no question with reference to the status of the profession in the State. The right will in the end prevail over the wrong in this unhappy contest in the profession as it did in the great contest on the subject of slavery, which many of us remember. Gentlemen must recollect that New York city is not the State of New York. The facility for coming together in a great city has, I fear, precipitated hasty action. I am, therefore, sir, in favor of postponing the organization of the association until Wednesday morning, at which time we shall be better informed, and therefore better prepared, with reference to our future action.
DR. GOULEY hoped that the preamble and resolution would be adopted to-night, and said that the object of such action is simply to save time; that he had come to Albany to assist in the formation of the new association, and not to attend the meeting of the State Society; and that if no association is to be formed he would prefer to leave by the next train. If action is taken to-night, of course it will not be binding in the event of the re-enactment of the National Code; but of the failure to secure such re-enactment he felt that there is not the shadow of a doubt. If it is decided that we should all attend the meeting on Tuesday night, he would abide by this decision and go and record his vote.
DR. ROCHESTER remarked that he was very glad to think that there was a prospect of a medical association which would be strictly voluntary without any hampering by State legislation. There might, however, be wisdom in considering what would be the effect of sundering one's connection with a county society. In Erie County, it is necessary for all regular physicians to join the County Medical Society or to give early notice of their intention to do so. Otherwise, members of that society are not allowed to consult with them, and if they attempt to practice, the censors of the society are ordered to proceed against them, no matter where their diploma comes from or by whom countersigned. It
is also necessary for physicians to perfect their membership in the County Society before they can become members of the City Medical Association. Now the advocates of the "New Code " not only table all remonstrances addressed by the county societies to the State Society, but the Chairman of the "New-Code" Committee, Dr. Wey, of Elmira, pronounces all such petitions as rebellious; says that all the county societies must give in their adhesion to the "New Code," and, in case they do not, advises the State Society to proceed against them for contumacy. Dr. Rochester said he had not much fear of the effect of such threatened proceedings, but thought it well to take their possibility into consideration. For his part, he should in future have very little to do with State or county societies, and was entirely in favor of forming a New York State Medical Association.
DR. C. G. POMEROY, of Wayne County, would not consult with irregular practitioners, legalized or not, and favored action to-night.
DR. ELY VAN DE WARKER, of Onondaga County, said:
Certain issues growing out of this contest in the State Society must be grappled fearlessly, for they are inevitable. Peace can never be restored. We know this to-night just as well as we shall know it Wednesday morning. We shall go into the contest in the State Society on Tuesday night simply for form's sake and without a hope that we shall reverse the policy of the Society; therefore I can see no reason to delay the preliminary formation of the new State Association.
Another thing which appears to me just as certain to grow out of this division is this: unless the unscrupulous minority which controls the State Society is made up of brag and bluster, they must go on with the work. Their aggressive policy must extend to the county societies. It is one thing, by the preponderating influence of three great county organizations, to be able to control the State Society; it will be another thing to invade each county medical society, and coerce them all into conformity to the new order of things. To make the "New Code" the medical law of the land, they must do this. To allow each county medical society to quietly exist with the code of the American Medical Association as a part of its organic law is to admit cowardice, defeat, and a cringing fear of the storm they have raised. To do less than