Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

still lingers against Rush for the excessive use of the lancet and calomel, let him have a fair field, and be judged by the standard of his own day. If he called calomel the Samson of the materia medica, and the wits could respond that his Samson had slain his thousands; and if his bleedings, which are now so universally deemed excessive, are condemned by the practice of the hour, let us not forget that bleeding and calomel were approved by his preceptor and by the best doctors of his time, and were then pronounced by those most competent to judge, a great improvement in treating the diseases of the United States. Nor is it to be forgotten that every method of dealing with the yellow fever of 1793 had proven ineffectual, and the physicians of the day were standing helpless and agbast, when Rush, after studying fully and experimenting fairly, came back to the treatment he had abandoned ; and, in the midst of the dying, for whom there seemed to be no hope, by his bleeding and purging saved the first four out of five patients, and then was able to write, on the tenth day of September, about mid-way through the fatal one hundred days, " Thank God, out of one hundred patients whom I have visited and prescribed for today, I have lost none.” The more we read of Rush the more we find to admire. His is indeed a grand figure, looming up through the mists of a hundred years, and we may well be proud of him as the great American physician.

But, continuing with our subject, we find that the next marked step of progress in native medical education was, the adding to the simple apprenticeship to a surgeon, the attendance on medical lectures. About ten years before the war, as has been already stated, the Philadelphia College of Medicine had been organized with a corps of very able professors. Beginning in the lectures of William Shippen on anatomy, a faculty was completed by the election of Benjamin Rush to the chair of chemistry in 1769. Shippen, Morgan, Kuhn, Bond, and Rush had joined to what instruction could be received at home, the best advantages of the great medical institutions of France, London, Edinburgh, and Leyden; and, at Philadelphia, as they had lavishly received, they sat down, freely to give to those who chose to be their brethren in the healing art. They were giants in their day, and are not to be underrated, the state of medical science being consided, either in comparison with the Cullens, Monros, and Hunters of their own day, or with the most eminent professors, physicians, and surgeons of our own more advanced and better furnished times. These were the men who constructed on a permanent foundation the medical institutions of our country.

One hundred years ago, then, this only school of medicine in Philadelphia had five professors lecturing upon the following subjects : Shippen, on Anatomy; Morgan, on the Institutes ; Kuhn, on Botany; Rush, on Chemistry, and Bond, on Clinical Medicine. With this faculty and Benjamin Franklin as president of the college, begins the true system of medical teaching in America.

Soon an opposition school was formed, but “an harmonious union of the contending parties was effected, and in 1791 they were merged in the University of Pennsylvania.' " From this period,"

writes Thatcher in 1828, “the progress and improvement of the institution have been no less honorable to the venerable founders than beneficial to the community. The commanding talents and profound erudition of Professors Rush, Barton, Physic, Dorsy, Chapman, and others have given the medical school of Philadelphia a celebrity which will probably long remain unrivalled in the United States, and will enable it to vie with the most elevated seminaries of the European world."

Benjamin Rush well represents nearly the whole of the first half century, beginning with 1776. The University to which he lent his name and talents, until long after the period of his death, which occurred in 1813, continued to be the centre of medical instruction for the whole Union. The great advance in medical science begins after the death of Rush, and is contemporaneous with the springing up of medical colleges in the main centres of population, and, in fact, belongs altogether to the last half century. Time forbids us to do more than glance at the growth of our medical schools, and we will at once leave the intervening period with its interesting history, and will see how the institutions and means of instruction to-day compare with what we have seen existed a century ago.

The progress is as remarkable as it is gratifying to our national pride. If Thatcher could write so glowingly of the condition of our single medical school in 1828, what would he say now? For this school has made giant strides since his day. Professorship after professorship have been added, until now its announcement displays the names of eleven professors and four adjunct professors; while its new and beautiful building, which " is the best for its purpose in the country, if not in the world,” containing all the appliances and aids which modern scientific teaching requires, is an ornament to our city.

Nor does this grand old school stand alone, for we can boast of another equally celebrated, and which, although much younger, rivals the mother school, both in the number of its pupils and in the talent of its faculty. Nor has this progress been confined to our own city; for all over our country, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, can be found medical schools, some of them celebrated for their thoroughness of instruction and the talents of their professors.

But, besides our schools, what do we find ? Then a single hospital and a lone dispensary; now so many hospitals and kindred institutions of instruction exist in our city, that it rivals in the facilities for medical study, and in the fame of her instructors, any city of the world.

Gentlemen, this is no idle boast. It is only necessary to consult the Medical Guide Book, furnished you by the committee, to prove what has been said. There you will find such an array of schools, hospitals, infirmaries, dispensaries, and other places of medical instruction, that it would be wearisome even to name them. Sutlice it to say, that in all our institutions, in our medical libraries, in private instructors and lecturers, in laboratories, in the manufacturers of surgical and philosophical instruments, in our books, journals, et id omni genus, we need not look beyond our own city to find all that a student of medicine may desire. Rush wrote in

1799, as the new century was about to come in, “I am satisfied that the rate of intellect (in the United States) is as twenty are to one, and of knowledge as one hundred are to one, in these States, compared to what they were before the American Revolution." In this general advance in intellect and knowledge, medicine, as fully as her sister professions, participated. But that improvement is scarcely to be mentioned in comparison with the stride of the next generation, and more particularly with the quick step of the generation closing with 1876. From 1800 to 1836 it was an arithmetical, from 1837 to 1876 it has been a full geometrical progression. The gentle silver stream of the mountain top has broadened and deepened, and thunders down now at the base a flashing, stupendous Niagara.

Thus do we compare with our modest beginning one hundred years ago.

One word more. Whilst viewing our present in connection with our previous condition, the thoughts naturally turn to a comparison with our brethren in Europe. Do their means of instruction excel our own? Can we really learn more in Europe than in this country? As late as twenty-five years ago this would have been answered most decidedly in the affirmative; but now, except in a few special studies, we can truthfully assert that our facilities are equal to theirs. What has been said in regard to our institutions need not be repeated, but it may be affirmed, that our city rivals, as a place for medical instruction in all the practical branches, any other city in the world. The only exception is, perhaps, that of Vienna for obstetrics; nor can we ever expect to equal this school of gynæcology. The habits and superior civilization of our people forbid us to suppose such a thing possible ; and this should be a source of congratulation to us, rather than a reproach. A recent writer, in speaking of this school, asks,“ Whence come so many patients?" and answers: “First, the standard of morality among the people is exceedingly low—so low, indeed, that a domestic who retains her chastity for any length of time, is considered a marvel of good morals. Advertisements are daily to be seen in the principal newspapers emanating from some one who desires to live with another of the opposite sex as companion or housekeeper, etc. may be formed of the extent to which the social evil' prevails in Vienna, when statistics show that of 27,000 births in 1875, 11,000, or more than 40 per cent., were illegitimate.”

Lately it has been too much the fashion to depreciate not only the institutions of our own city, but of our country, and point to those of Europe as superior in every respect to our own. Much of this feeling is a mere lingering of the old prejudice against the native doctor, when the means of education were wanting; and some of it is owing to that admiration for distant objects, which is not peculiar to this subject.

Putting aside the question of the temptation to which our sons would be subjected—for the standard of morality in Europe is very different from our own — when we consider that new habits have to be acquired, which often unfit them to act as good citizens on their return, a new language to be mastered, and many inconveni

ences borne, may we not say, in the words of that close observer, Rush, “That an education in our own is to be preferred to an education in a foreign country”?

In 1874 the opportunity presented itself to me to visit some of the most celebrated schools and hospitals of the old world, and to witness the practice of their physicians and surgeons. I had also the good fortune to see the modes and result of much private practice. I do not wish to detract from the merit of our foreign brethren, but, gentlemen, I came home impressed with the belief that no country can excel our own in teaching practical medicine, and that no physicians or surgeons can surpass ours in diagnostic skill and dexterity.

In one point we have far distanced our European brethren-in the perfect organization of our profession; for no other country possesses such medical educators as our county and State societies. These associations have elevated the standard of medical propriety and medical science, and bringing physicians into pleasant acquaintance, and uniting them in measures for their common interest, have been of incalculable benefit in advancing the profession, and binding us together as a grand brotherhood.

In thus hastily contrasting European with American medical education, it is not to be understood that it is claimed that ours is perfect. I merely wish to assert that, with our method of teaching, men are graduated fully equal in all the practical branches to theirs.

And now may we venture to suggest that the career of American medicine, beginning really with Rush and the first medical school in the United States, about 1776, ought to culminate in 1876 in the perfecting of our American schools of medicine, in the exclusion of foreign text-books from these institutions, and an elevation of our profession to a height which it can easily attain where medical instruction and medical skill shall not merely be equal to any that can be afforded at London, Paris, Vienna, or Berlin, but be superior to anything that the world anywhere else can present; where, in short, the student in European cities, wishing to complete his preparation for practice most satisfactorily, shall have to consult books of American authorship, and turn his face to American medical colleges carried to the utmost point of skill and efficacy by the best medical tact and talent that America can afford.

As the Jew came up to Jerusalem in the year of jubilee, singing exulting songs all the way, the nations are moving in procession this year to Philadelphia ; and it may be, it should be, we are almost disposed to say it must be, that from this centennial of 1876, all distances in the future progress of medicine, in the progress of the sciences and of the arts will be estimated, as the Romans counted distances from the golden mile-stone which the Emperor reared in the Imperial city.

When American cutlery is entering Sheffield, and competing in knives, sickles, saws, and instruments of husbandry with English manufactures on English ground; when in reaping machines, in sewing machines, in all kinds of machinery, America surpasses her competitors, and attracts the eyes of the world upon her as the home of invention and the nurse of improvement-the time has

arrived for a forward movement all along the line and medical science must go forward with the rest, not to equal merely, but to surpass the medical science of France, Germany, England, and all other countries.

He offered the following: -
Order of exercises and entertainments:-

Wednesday, May 31st.-The Society convenes at the First Reformed Church, Broad Street above Pine, at 3 P. M., and adjourns at 6 P.M. Evening: President's address, at the First Reformed Church, Broad Street above Pine, at 8 P. M. Receptions at the residences of Dr. Washington L. Atlee, 1408 Arch Street, and Dr. Richard J. Levis, 1301 Arch Street.

Thursday, June 1st.—The Society convenes at 9 A.M., and adjourns at 1 P. M. Afternoon: The Society convenes at 3 P.M., and adjourns at 6 P.M. Evening: Reception at the Academy of Fine Arts, Broad Street above Arch, at 8 P. M.

Friday, June 2d.—Excursion and entertainment at Sea Girt, Atlantic Coast, New Jersey, 60 miles from Philadelphia, by special express train, leaving new passenger station, Pennsylvania Railroad, West Philadelphia, at 7.45 A. M.; time, 24 hours; returning at 4 P. M.

The Committee of Arrangements, acting as a Committee on Credentials, reported the following as duly accredited delegates and permanent members :

Adams County.
ROBERT HORNER,

Gettysburg.
J. W. C. O'NEAL,
J. W. PEARSON,

York Springs.
Allegheny County.
JOHN M. BATTEN,

Pittsburg.
GEO. D. BRUCE,
A. V. CHESSROWN,
H. T. COFFEY,
WM. HUDSON DALY,
ANDREW EASTON,

Allegheny.
WM. M. HERRON,
W. S. HUSELTON,
C. B. KING,
N. MCDONALD,

Pittsburg.
R. B. MOWRY,

Allegheny.
J.B. MURDOCH,

Pittsburg
A. M. POLLOCK,

66

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »