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periment every theory plausible enough to justify it, by the same standard to prove the value of every discovery or improvement, promote economy by causing one experiment for many, and certain and rapid communication, through the States, of the results, furnish a sure means of saving to the nation millions of dollars. Indeed the subject is worthy of the profoundest consideration.
From J. H. SEARS, M.D., through D. R. WALLACE, M.D., member of the Section for Texas.
In place of "Council" I would suggest a Health Department, as completely separate, with suitable laws regulating it, as the Postal or any other Department of Government, with proper officers and with Branch Departments in every State and county of these United States, through which information could be sent and obtained from any inhabited portion of this nation. This would do away with the necessity of State Boards.
2d. "When should it go into operation ?" Immediately.
Your obedient servant,
J. H. SEARS, M.D.
From J. L. CABELL, M.D., member of the Section for Virginia.
I am disposed to favor the scheme as an abstract question, but am not prepared to offer any suggestions as to the time or mode of seeking the aid of the general government.
Very respectfully and truly yours,
J. L. CABELL.
From H. P. STRONG, M.D., member of the Section for Wisconsin.
BELOIT, Jan. 21, 1875.
Your first question: "What should be the character and object of a National Health Council?" I answer, it should be authorized and empowered and paid, if necessary, by Congressional enactment, and should be under the direction of the Surgeon General, or the American Medical Association, or both; State branches to be
composed of physicians and laymen; object to be as broad as the name "National Health" would imply.
2d. "When should it go into operation?" Just as soon as it can be properly organized, and the details so far perfected that there shall be no hitch, friction, or failure-and not until then.
Very truly yours,
H. P. STRONG.
From JOHN FRISSELL, M.D., member of the Section for West Virginia.
WHEELING, Feb. 9, 1875.
Those questions involve the consideration of subjects, of the greatest interest not only to our own profession, but to the whole people.
Although I have given the subject but little attention, I feel safe in saying that a Health Council for the Nation, properly organized and properly conducted, would in the manifold good influences it would bring to bear upon all classes of the profession, be one of the greatest achievements of our century. It has been too much. the custom to regard the science of medicine as exclusively curative, designed merely to mitigate the evils which afflict humanity. Its true scope and real mission should be to search out and to spread broad-cast over the land, those great general principles or laws, which concern man's physical well-being, and which when understood and obeyed, secure to him that health and length of days designed by an all-wise Creator. In other words, the subject of hygiene, the grand corner-stone of our profession, should receive that recognition and study its importance demands.
In answer to your question, "What should be the character and object of a National Health Council ?" I would reply that the standard of excellence cannot be placed too high. Its members should possess the highest order of ability, and be unselfishly devoted to the cause of science; they should above all be practical matter-of-fact men, with ability and attainments, not only to be efficient workers themselves, but should also possess the tact to interest and engage every good practical common-sense worker in the country, to assist in searching out and gathering together facts, data, and statistics, valuable in establishing general principles and
laws, and of teaching their more practical application to the science of medicine.
Could it be hoped that a National Health Council would combine even a portion of the requirements I have enumerated, I would be in hearty sympathy with its immediate establishment. I trust that with your superior advantages for judging, you will be able to demonstrate that it is not an impossibility, but a matter that is thoroughly practicable, and the time to do it has now come.
Your other questions can all be answered by saying, that the State of West Virginia has never established a State Board of Health, and that no efforts have ever been made in that direction. If a National Council should be once established and should make requirements of the different States, making State action necessary to its existence, then our State might be induced to move in the matter. Without some such action or stimulus, it is very uncertain when West Virginia will legislate on these important subjects.
PROF. H. P. BOWDITCH'S PLAN FOR RECORDING CERTAIN DATA RELATIVE TO THE GROWTH OF CHILDREN OF DIFFERENT NATIONALITIES IN ORDER TO ILLUSTRATE PERHAPS THE INFLUENCE OF OUR CLIMATE, ETC.
THE Chairman, in behalf of Prof. H. P. Bowditch, of the Harvard Medical School, presented the following tables illustrating the plan by which the Professor, with the aid of the teachers of the schools, and under the authority of the School Committee, hopes to get the exact height, weight, parentage, etc., of all the children now in the schools of Boston. Their number is about forty thousand.
The Chairman presented them to the Section in the hope that possibly some member would perhaps feel sufficient interest to be willing to carry out similar plans in some of the larger cities of the West or South.
Table No. 1 is an example of the original record of the data of each child. The data given opposite 1, at the head, are given simply as an example of the method pursued.
Table No. 2 contains an analysis of the data contained in No. 1, viz., nationality of parents, ages, etc. etc., of the children. Tables can be made in detail of the age of each child even to months. The Chairman read the following, prepared by Prof. Bowditch, as giving briefly his objects in undertaking the investigation.
"The object of ascertaining the height and weight of the school children in different parts of the country is to obtain the necessary data for determining the rate of growth of the human race under a great variety of conditions; to study, e. g., the effect which climate, nationality of parents, and mode of life may have on the growth of the rising generation. By a comparison of results obtained in this country with those obtained in Europe, it is hoped that light may be thrown on a number of interesting questions, e. g., if the rate of growth of a European race in its native country is compared with the growth of the same race after emigration to this