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is expected from a new board of nine unpaid men. So large a body would be sure to shirk responsibility, would be ignorant of their duties from want of time to attend to such a multiplicity of cares, and would be unmanageable, unless there were at least one paid member to give his whole time to the work. If the board of nine subdivide themselves into three bodies, as is suggested, they have at once all the supposed disadvantages, without the advantages, attendant upon three boards. The difficulty in giving the central board coördiDate powers with local boards of health may be inferred by imagining what confusion there would have been if the State Board of Health had attempted to manage the last small-pox epidemic, in Boston. The relations of such a board with the trustees and inspectors of state institutions, at times, could hardly help being at least embarrassing.
In England, the experiment has been tried and has failed, owing, as some think, to “ difficulties of departmental working, rather than from any error in principle,” and, as others says, with some emphasis, due to an error in principle. If the well-paid board has been a signal failure in England, is not a failure more likely where the members of the board serve for nothing? It certainly is doubtful whether the esprit de corps of the proposed consolidated board would be the stimulus to work that it has been to the board of health.
If a thoroughly good board could be appointed, with enough paid members to secure efficiency, we are not prepared to say that the general good might not be enough promoted thereby to compensate any detriment to the board of health. At best, it would be an experiment, and in its present form not a promising one. We shall look with interest for the report of the committee to the legislature, and their recommendations. Perhaps they will show what we have not yet been able to see, how the consolidation is to save expense.
We have received the Proceedings of the Medical Society of the State of Tennessee at its forty-fifth annual session, held in Memphis in April last. We are glad to see that the society received the benefit of a short but sensible article on Preventive Medicine by Dr. J. A. Draughon, of Nashville. The advice will be read by the readers with far more attention than that with which it probably was received by his hearers. There are a number of interesting papers, and an eloquent obituary of Dr. Paul F. Eve.
- The Medical Times and Gazette quotes from the Journal des SagesFemmes a case of labor, attended by Professor Depaul and M. Noel Guéneau de Mussy, in which the intra-uterine cries of the fætus were distinctly heard during repeated attempts at delivery by the forceps, the head remaining at the superior aperture of the pelvis for a considerable time. Velpeau always denied the reality of these cries, and so had Professor Depaul, until this case compelled him to state that in future he must admit their possibility.
— The Russian government has offered special privileges to such medical students as will volunteer their services to medical men who are located in districts in which the plague prevails.
– The lists of the matriculation examination of the University of London
are just out, and being the first since women were admitted to all the de. grees of the university they have been examined with great interest. The limited number of women who entered took very high places. Out of eleven applicants nine were passed.
Of course the legislature have found the charges against the Danvers Hospital to be without foundation ; and we agree with the committee who in
1 vestigated the matter that the whole affair was discreditable to those persons who set it on foot. The superintendent and trustees of the hospital are tak. ing the lead in the intelligent management of their trust, and we are glad to give them the credit which they deserve of having one of the very best asylums in the country.
— The following is an extract from a letter written by a gentleman in Texas, himself a sufferer from the centipede bite: “ In regard to the bite of centipedes, tarantulas, etc., I have asked several persons who may be considered "authority, and I have come to the following conclusion : the bite of the centipede or tarantula in certain sections of the country is always fatal. In other sections the bite is sometimes fatal, generally not, but causes acute pain at time of bite, and in case of the tarantula a swelling something like a boil ; in case of the centipede the flesh is killed, and sloughs off in time. Both the bite of the tarantula and that of the centipede seem to affect the nervous system. In certain places in Mexico, in Durango, for instance, the local authorities give rewards for the capture of these insects (a few cents each), and there are persons who make it their business to hunt them. I did not hear any satisfactory reason given why the bites have different results in different sections. It is generally attributed to difference in water and wood. Some few years ago 3 gentleman and his servant were traveling between Corpus Christi and the Rio Grande ; stopping for lunch, the servant started a fire under a bush, and while blowing it a centipede dropped and fastened on the back of his neck. The man lived but three days, and died in great agony. I saw a man who has lived on the frontier for twenty-five years. He had been bitten by a tarantula, and had used camphor and nothing else. He always carries a bottle with him to protect himself against these bites. I have heard of domestic animals being bitten, some of whom died.”
In the physician's report of the Providence Reform School only one death is mentioned, namely, that of a colored boy who during his stay of two or three years in the school had been treated for rheumatism, scrofula, pleurisy, pneumonia, dyspepsia, dysentery, scarlatina, neuralgia, jaundice, disease of the heart, and Bright's disease of the kidneys.
A subterranean forest of oaks has been discovered in Germany, in a valley watered by the river Fulda. Dr. Maesta, a government geologist, who made the discovery during an official exploration, pronounces the trees to be of enormous size, and to date back in their origin to a remote period.
- M. Vergeley, of Bordeaux, concludes: (1.) That the existence of heart disease does not contraindicate the use of anæsthetics. (2.) That chloroform is a sedative in this class of diseases. (3.) That it should be used with discretion. M. Vergely has given it in palpitation from mitral insufficiency, in angina pectoris and other affections characterized by dyspnea and palpitation, and thinks this agent has been used too timidly and unsystematically. We
sincerely hope his influence will not increase the use of this dangerous anæsthetic.
NEW YORK. - A family in Brooklyn have lately been suffering from supposed trichinosis, and one of their number, an old lady, died. Before her death she was seen by five physicians, all of whom concurred in this diagnosis, the disease being attributed to raw ham, which all the family had partaken of. At the autopsy, however, although portions of muscles from various parts of the body were microscopically examined, no evidences of trichinæ were discovered, while advanced disease of the kidney was found. Still it is possible that when more complete examinations of the muscular tissue have been made, the diagnosis of trichinosis may be confirmed. The other members of the family are reported as improving. Since this case came to light the board of health have been collecting samples of pork from various dealers for the purpose of having them examined.
- At the last meeting of the County Medical Society, the special committee on the metric system presented its first report on the advisability of a prompt adoption of the system, and (without seeking them abroad) quoted as encouragements and harbingers of success the following: the recent action concerning it of the Rhode Island and New Hampshire state medical societies, and of the American Ophthalmological Association ; the application of the metric system in all the branches of the United States marine hospital service; the pledge of the Boston physicians and pharmacists to use and to promote the use of it; the fact that eminent professors, such as John C. Dalton, C. F. Chandler, and others, use it in their lectures, and also that many of the leading pharmacists of this and other cities are strongly in favor of its adoption.
– Mr. Kiddle, superintendent of public schools, has recently made his annual report to the board of education. From this it appears that the average attendance at the schools during 1878 reached the enormous number of 130,276, which is an increase of 3568 over that of the preceding year. The superintendent complains of overcrowding in the various school-buildings, but says that their sanitary arrangements are good, a statement which may possibly be open to some question. There can be no doubt, however, that owing to the exertions of a special committee of the Medico-Legal Society, and especially to the indefatigable efforts of its chairman, Dr. O'Sullivan, considerable reforms in their sanitary condition have from time to time been effected. In 1871 the average number of pupils in attendance at the schools was only 84,000, and the increase since then is due, to a considerable extent, to the enactment and enforcement of the “truant law” four or five years ago. In 1878 the whole number enrolled amounted to 263,371.
- During the past few months, cases of influenza have been so numerous in this city as to constitute a veritable epidemic of catarrhal fever. Dr. Da Costa called attention to this in a clinical lecture recently, at the Pennsylvania Hospital, in which, after alluding to its prevalence, he spoke of some of its
peculiar features, which may be stated briefly as follows: The ordinary appearances of coryza are generally present in the patients attacked by the influenza ; the throat
also be affected, but whether this be the case or not, it is generally found that the submaxillary and cervical lymphatics are swollen and tender. The pharynx appears congested, and the tonsils and swollen. There is some bronchitis in the greater number of cases, but rarely to any marked extent; there is, however, a strong tendency to pulmonary congestion and pneumonia, which may involve both lungs. In other patients the force of the
, poison seems to be expended on the gastro-intestinal tract, and vomiting, cramps, and diarrhæa may ensue. Jaundice has been noticed. There is not much fever, except when there is a complication. The nervous symptoms are very interesting. In some cases the headache and delirium simulate meningitis ; in others there is exalted reflex activity of the spinal chord, and spasms of the limbs occur. Painful, burning spots appear on the surface, and there is aching pain in the loins and back of the legs, with stiffening of certain groups of muscles. Facial neuralgia of both trigemini is not uncommon. Depression is quite a prominent feature in these cases from the beginning, and weak and elderly subjects are apt to die, especially if lung complications supervene. Many are attacked by the epidemic who have not been out of their rooms for months. Some of our prominent citizens have succumbed to this disorder, and the great mortality from pneumonia has attracted general attention. The features are those of a low fever, and a supporting treatment is required throughout. Many cases take milk punch or wine with marked benefit, while Dover's powder and quinia are given in moderate amount. During convalescence iron is generally needed in some of its preparations.
The Philadelphia County Medical Society, through their committee on hygiene, have memorialized the legislature in regard to the control of inebriates and habitual drunkards. The draught of the bill submitted recommends their commitment to an inebriate asylum for a period of not less than four months, for treatment. It is hoped that eventually a state inebriate asylum will be provided for these unfortunates.
- Dr. Charles S. Turnbull reports ? a case of traumatic perforation of the membrana tympani, with fracture of the handle of the malleus, which united under treatment, but with some displacement. In three months from the accident (thrust of a pen-holder into the meatus by a mischievous boy), the hearing was normal.
SHOT-GUN QUARANTINES. MR. EDITOR, - During the prevalence of the late epidemic of yellow fever frequent allusions were made in both the secular and medical press to the
shot-gun quarantines” maintained in many parts of the South. But few of the readers of the JOURNAL, however, can have any defivite idea of the conditions that led to the establishment, or of the consequences attending the enforcement of this means of self-protection, which was resorted to by so many local communities in the absence of any central authority either for instituting
1 Philadelphia Medical and Surgical Reporter, February 22, 1879.
or restraining such measures. The state of alarm and panic that prevailed through the Southwest as the epidemic increased in virulence and invaded many points that had previously known it only by tradition, and the popular belief in the marked personal contagiousness of the disease, resulted in producing a state of feeling that in many places seemed to have annulled all the claims of humanity, or even of kindred and family ties.
In many cases the small towns quarantined against the larger ones where the disease prevailed, and refused to allow the trains to stop, or at least to permit the passengers to leave them, the depot platforms being patrolled by armed guards whose mot d'ordre was, Move on! As about the same order of things existed at all the stations on some lines of railroad, baggage and freight cars filled with refugees who could not escape to the North or West were often detached on side tracks, where they served as a shelter for the inmates for days at a time. If a case of suspicious sickness occurred among the unfortunate refugees they were ordered to move ou under penalty of having the cars burned.
Many persons traveled long distances on foot or horseback through woods and swamps, making long détours around the quarantined towns to reach points of rest and safety. Refugees taken sick on the cars were often forcibly expelled, and left on exposed railway platforms to the chance mercies of any good Samaritan whose sense of humanity overcame his fears. Neighbors quarantined against each other where any exposure to contagion had occurred. If an absent member of a family returned from an infected point, non-intercourse was established by the whole neighborhood for a week or two.
In most of the towns the local police force was supplemented by details of the citizens, who mounted guard by day and night, and prevented the entrance of any persons to the town save under such regulations as they saw fit to establish.
A personal letter from an intelligent and responsible merchant of Memphis, detailing the experiences of himself and family with the “shot-gun quarantine," gives such a vivid picture of the sufferings inflicted on thousands of people endeavoring to escape from the prevailing scourge that I cannot more forcibly present the facts to your readers than by quoting freely from his letter.
With his wife and family of six young children, Mr. F. left Memphis on August 14th, expecting to reach Hot Springs, Ark., on the following morning; but on arrival at Gallaway, a town twelve miles east of Little Rock, at two in the morning, the train was stopped by the board of health, and ordered to remain in quarantine for forty-eight hours, to which ten days additional detention was added subsequently.
Here, at an out-of-the-way station, on an old, dilapidated platform, about four hundred people were exposed without food or shelter, most of them wishing to reach distant points in Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas. Among them were many women and children without escort, whose husbands and fathers were anxiously waiting their arrival. The panic-stricken people of the vicinity refused to permit the unfortunate refugees to approach their wells or yards, armed guards being placed around the fences. With a grim humor that old soldiers will appreciate, the writer says, –