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The bill to consolidate the boards of health, lunacy, and charity has passed to its third reading. If the bill becomes a law, this means the virtual abolishment of the present Board of Health for political reasons, the republican party making this change in the name of retrenchment, but in reality as a campaign measure against the Butler faction. It is uncertain whether the present members of the board will be renominated by the governor, or that they will accept any such nomination. It is reported as probable that the consolidated board will have at least two female members. The valuable work which has been done by the present Board of Health and the influence it has exerted in improving sanitary legislation throughout the country are too well known to need any praise from us. It must be looked upon as a great misfortune that the usefulness of this organization should in any way be tampered with.
THE WALKING MANIA.
ONE of the saddest evidences of the difficulty in obtaining a livelihood at the present time is shown in the readiness with which dangerous occupations are embraced by a crowd of eager applicants when there is an opportunity to make money. We called attention to this fact some time since in commenting upon the death of a poor girl accidentally killed in a shooting exhibition upon the stage. The walking mania affords a more recent example. The exhibition of women pedestrians in New York was a ghastly caricature of the form of entertainment. The sufferings of these poor creatures in their efforts to obtain a share of the proceeds were apparently the chief point of interest to the spectators. The quarter-mile walk bases its success as a show on the amount of exhaustion it is capable of producing. In a recent six days' walk in Louisville it is stated that one of the contestants, a man,
the close of the match “ was completely worn out," and, after languishing for a few days, died. We are glad to say that under the careful police supervision of this city such entertainments are not likely to take place here.
Mathieu, the old and well-known instrument maker of Paris, is dead. — Professor Nussbaum, of Munich, has just performed his two hundredth ovariotomy.- Professor Michel, of Erlangen, has been called to Wurzburg. His former chair has since been taken by Professor Sattler, heretofore of Giessen. – Hyrtl has just published a work on anatomical terms which have been derived from the Arabic and Hebraic languages. The Vienna Allgemeine medizinische Zeitung, in commenting upon the exceeding interest of the work, expresses the greatest regret that a man of Hyrtl's genius could have witbdrawn so prematurely from his professorship. — Professor Sonnenschein, one of the most accomplished chemists of Prussia, is dead. — Erichsen has
been nominated as president of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society. Dr. Hermann Köhler, professor of pharmacology in the University of Halle and author of the Handbook of Physiological Therapeutics and Materia Medica, died of heart disease February 6th. He is not to be confounded with Reinhold Köhler, professor of clinical medicine at Tübingen and author of the excellent Handbook on Therapeutics. — Tyndall has contributed one thousand marks to the monument to the late Robert von Mayer, of the University of Tübingen.
At Greenock, Scotland, an “articulation school for deaf and deaf-mutes" has been established under the auspices of Prof. Graham Bell, formerly connected with the Boston School of Oratory, and an assistant teacher has been sent out from the latter institution. The system is extremely interesting, consisting of articulation and lip-reading, which of course are taught through the eye of the pupil, and may be studied at the Boston school, at which visitors are always welcomed. Gibout, in L'Année médicale, gives such simple treatment for the universal
that it should become familiar. He first softens the corn by applying to it for one night an ointment consisting of turpentine and acetate of copper each one part, white resin two parts, and yellow wax four. The corn should afterward be excised, care being taken to go deep enough to remove its summit, which of course is the portion deepest in the flesh. After excision the matrix should be cauterized with sulphuric acid, else the corn will reappear.
- The London Lancet severely denounces the “heathen practice" of burning the dead, chiefly because by destroying all traces of poison and internal injury it would encourage crime.
CHICAGO. Now that a democratic mayor has been elected, and the first change in the political complexion of the city government that has occurred for many years is about to be inaugurated, the future of the department of health is being canvassed by both the people at large and the profession. A petition is in circulation among citizens which is being extensively signed, praying the mayor-elect not to disturb Dr. De Wolfe in his office of commissioner of health. The claim is made with great unanimity among all classes that the department of health should be kept out of politics, and conducted in the interest solely of science and the health of the people. While some people, both in and out of the profession, oppose the present commissioner, the great majority think he has given the city the most thorough and efficient health department we have ever had. His administration has certainly been a warfare upon the “ stinks” of fertilizing establishments, and it is no wonder owners of such oppose his retention in office.
Mayor-elect Harrison gives, so far, evidence of broad views and a high public spirit; he says the police and fire departments shall not be disturbed by political influences; he is silent on the subject of the health department. Meanwhile the scramble for office is kept up with the vigor usually incident to a change of administration in a large city.
The final confirmation by the senate of Drs. Smith and Verdi as members of the National Board of Health enabled that body to hold a full meeting, with all its members present, excepting Dr. Bowditch, on April 2d, which resulted in the following election of officers: Dr. Jas. L. Cabell, president, Dr. J. S. Billings, vice-president; Dr. T. J. Turner, secretary; executive committee: Drs. Cabell, Billings, Turner, Smith, and Bailhache. The meetings were held continually for four days, when the board adjourned to meet May 1st at Atlanta, Ga. During their session they decided to appoint a commission to investigate personally the yellow fever in Cuba, and to act at an early date. They also agreed upon the provisions of a bill to promote the public health, and to prevent the introduction of contagious and infectious diseases, providing for a rigid quarantine, etc.; this bill being referred to the senate committee will probably receive discussion and modification before its final adoption, and its provisions have not yet been published.
Senate bill No. 267, authorizing the National Board of Health to investigate and report upon infectious and contagious diseases in food animals, has been referred to the committee on agriculture, and no report has yet been made
- Senate bill 284 authorizes Wm. J. Wilson, assistant surgeon United States army, to receive from the Khedive of Egypt a decoration for gallantry in battle in the action near Gara, Abyssinia, March 7, 1876.
LETTER FROM ST. LOUIS. Tacation of Physicians. — Prostitution. — Medical Education. — Arsenic in
Tetanus. MR. EDITOR, — One of the subjects that, during the past winter, has interested the medical fraternity in St. Louis has been an ordinance imposing a tax of twenty-five dollars a year, irrespective of income, upon the physicians practicing in the city. Meetings were held expostulating with the council, and petitions were addressed to the state legislature asking that they should interfere to prevent the enforcement or passage of such an ordinance. The ordinance was opposed by the profession on the ground that it was unjust to tax an occupation which included so large a proportion of charity work, and which by its charity saved the city so much expense. It was also opposed by some upon the ground that it was a tax upon brains. These arguments had no weight with the enlightened members of our city council ; they held that the privilege of practicing medicine in St. Louis was worth twenty-five dollars a year. The state legislature, however, has passed a law prohibiting any city or town in Missouri from enacting any ordinance levying a yearly tax upon the professions of law, medicine, the ministry, or teaching. A protest has been made by the city authorities, claiming that the legislature has no right to make such a law, and that by so doing it infringes upon the rights of the city. Whether this objection is valid or not remains to be seen.
Yesterday a number of amendments to our city charter were submitted to
the people ; among them was one for the regulation of houses of prostitution and assignation. It was couched in language which was suggestive only of good, but the idea prevailed that it was a wolf in sheep's clothing, and that regulate meant license. Only about one twelfth of the voters voted, but the result was 4700 for to 7000 against. It is to be hoped that some active measures will be taken against this vice or crime, whichever one may choose to call it. It is thought by many who are qualified to judge that our present laws are ample, and that the fault has been not with the laws but with those who executed them ; for from the repeal of our social evil law until a few months ago there seems to have been no effort to suppress prostitution in this city.
The regular medical colleges have just held their commencement exercises, the Missouri College graduating eighty-seven and the St. Louis College fiftyeight students. The valedictory address to the graduates of the St. Louis Medical College was made by Dr. E. II. Gregory. That to the graduates of the Missouri Medical College was made by Dr. P. G. Robinson.
The three years' course of study is rapidly gaining popularity here; thirteen of the graduates of the St. Louis Medical College had taken the three years' course, which amounts to about nine months of actual attendance every year in that institution. At the end of the first year they have written examinations in chemistry and anatomy, at the end of the second in materia medica and physiology, and at the end of the third in the remaining studies ; this course also includes a compulsory course of practical analytical chemistry in the laboratory. The favor with which this is received is evinced by the fact that during the first and second days that the books were open for matriculation between forty and fifty students gave in their names for the three years'
This is a step in the right direction, and will undoubtedly tend to elevate the profession in the West.
At a recent meeting of our medical society Dr. J. T. Hodgen attracted the attention of its members to the treatment of tetanus by arsenic, a practice which he had followed for some years, and which had yielded better results in his hands than any other line of treatment. He begins with the usual dose, increasing it rapidly to as large an amount as the patient can bear.
The following are some of the cases treated in this manner, which were under his sole charge, or were seen by him in consultation : Case I. G. S., aged fifteen years. Contused wound of scalp. Trismus and opisthotonos. Spasms recurred frequently during a period of three weeks. Fowler's solution in five-drop doses every two hours. Over two ounces were taken. Recovery. Drs. A. S. Barnes and J. T. Hodgen. Case II. Boy, fourteen years
old. Wound from nail in boot. Cauterized the wound freely; after trismus was present to a marked degree began the use of Fowler's solution in large doses. Recovery. Case III. C. C., seventeen years old. Trifling wound of knee. Trismus and opisthotonos. Chloral had been given, then Fowler's solution. He was removed to the City Hospital, and the arsenic continued. Recovery. Drs. Frazier and Hodgen. Case IV. Boy. Scald of both legs. Fowler's solution and chloral. Recovery. Drs. Fairbrother and Hodgen. Case V. J. D., forty years old. Fracture of left thigh, first and fourth metatarsal bones of left foot and left clavicle, with scalp wound. Trismus. Third day began to
take Fowler's solution ; no other medicine was administered. Recovery. Case
; VI. Boy, fifteen years old. Gunshot wound of left arm. Extreme opisthotonos and trismus. Arsenic. Recovery. Drs. Mudd and Green. Case VII. Man, thirty years old. Finger cut by a saw. Trismus; not a severe case. Arsenic was administered, and the case resulted in recovery.
Dr. Mudd. These are some of the cases treated by arsenic. All traumatic; all resulted in recovery. There have been, of course, fatal cases where arsenic has been used, but death has always occurred in the first thirty-six hours.
DR. WILLIAM F. STEVENS.
At a meeting of the Middlesex East District Medical Society, held at Woburn, April 2, 1879, the committee appointed to prepare proper resolutions on the death of the late Dr. William F. Stevens, of Stoneham, presented the following, which the society voted to accept, and authorized the secretary to send a copy to Mrs. Stevens, and to the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal for publication : To Mrs. Dr. William F. STEVENS, STONEHAM, MASS.
DEAR FRIEND, — The members of the Middlesex East District Society, along with many others, wish to condole with you in the great loss we have recently sustained in the death of Dr. Stevens. To the younger members of this society he was specially endeared by numerous acts of kindness and professional courtesy, and by all of us the loss will be severely felt in the future.
As physicians, we desire to put on record the opinion that no one ever surpassed him in a due regard for the rights of his fellow practitioners. His was indeed the soul of honor, "without fear and without reproach,” who scorned to take an unfair advantage of a rival practitioner, and studied to save the feelings of others even at the sacrifice of his own.
We desire also to record our admiration of his great skill and remarkable fidelity to duty - a fidelity which knew neither rich nor poor, but only suffering humanity.
Nor will we soon forget the moral beauty of his character, which reflected its lustre on the profession to which we are proud to belong. It shall be our duty and privilege to “keep his memory green,” an example for all tim of what a good physician should
A true copy, attest: J. Richmond Barss, Secretary.
MR. EDITOR, — I hope you will allow me to suggest to your readers some points in refer. ence to instruments for blood counting, as some misapprehension may arise from a hasty reading of the article by Drs. Henry and Nancrede contained in the Journal for April 10th. In the Malassez and Gowers patterns of instruments for blood counting it is proper to admit the existence, first, of errors of instrument, which affect comparative results. These may be unequal depth of cell or want of uniformity in the calibre of the capillary tube used as a cell, unequal ruling of lines, and also want of uniformity of the surface of their covering glasses. Second, of errors of method in the practical use of these instruments, which affect comparative results; these may arise from those errors which occur in experiments apon a single specimen of blood. The only important crrors of this kind occur from an imperfect cleaning of the blood pipette; from the fact that the lumen of the tube may contain moisture, and that all the blood has not been blown from the blood pipette into the artificial serum; also, as stated by these writers, from gravitation of corpuscles contained in a drop too large for the cell.
The errors of the first class are those which in a well-made instrument are so trifling that they may be disregarded; those of the second are not so easy to avoid or calculate, but with