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REPORT OF THE LUZERNE COUNTY MEDICAL SOCIETY.
This society holds six meetings a year, one every two months. The meetings of the last year have been of unusual interest and importance, and the attendance on the part of the members is constantly on the increase.
At the last meeting of the Society, which was held in the city of Scranton, on the 10th of May, the subjoined biographical sketch of the late Dr. Dennis, was read by Dr. E. R. Mayer, of Wilkesbarre.
The paper speaks for itself, and needs no comment at my hands. It will be recognized by every one who reads it, as it is by the members of the society, as an article worthy of the high intellectual character and standing of the writer, and, by those who were acquainted with the deceased, as being an eminently just and truthful tribute to him.
Local epidemics of diphtheria have prevailed in the coal regions” during the year, but, generally speaking, the county has not been subject to any epidemic influence or disease.
There are two hospitals in the county which are worthy of comment in this report, and which by their repleted condition, not withstanding their commodious character, show the great demand and necessity for such institutions in a county such as ours.
They are located, the one in Scranton, and the other in Wilkesbarre. The former is known as the Lackawanna Hospital, the latter as the Wilkesbarre City Hospital. They are both in a flourishing condition. The Wilkesbarre Hospital is built on a fine eminence overlooking a part of the city, and giving a beautiful and extended view of the beautiful valley of Wyoming," and the surrounding but distant mountains. The grounds occupy an area of four acres, the generous donation of John W. Hollenback, Esq. The building lately completed, and now occupied, is capable of accommodating from sixty to seventy beds.
In view of the rapidly increasing population of the city, and the contiguous towns and villages, whereby the necessity for caring for the sick and suffering is constantly on the increase, or rather, I should say, the number to be cared for is constantly increasing, the
building is so constructed that additions thereto can, and, as necessity arises, will be made.
In the county society, which, as has already been stated, meets every two months, written and verbal reports of interesting, important, and difficult cases in the various departments of medicine are given. A question selected at a precerling meeting is discussed at each meeting of the society. To this feature of our organization, can probably be traced much of the interest of the meetings of our society, and its constantly increasing membership.
Communicated by Dr. Chas. Burr, of Carbondale :
The year past, like last year, has been one of unusual health in this part of the county. No disease in an epidemic form has prevailed among us, and I do not know that I have anything of special interest to the profession to report.
There is one therapeutical agent that I have frequently thought I would like to bring to the notice of the profession, which I have used for a certain purpose, with unvarying success, and with great satisfaction to myself, and to the delight of my patients. From conversations I have had with other practitioners, I am confident there are many who will read this, who, upon trial of the remedy, will thank me for bringing it to their notice, although to others it may be nothing new. I allude to a combination of the infusion of digitalis with acetate of potassa in dropsical effusion. Without speaking now further of this preparation, I will cite briefly one or two cases illustrative of its effects.
Some two years ago, I was called to see a little girl, then four years old, suffering from bronchitis. Under treatment the trouble soon subsided, but I discovered that she had an organic disease of the heart, and informed her parents that she probably would never get well of it. She continued, however, in fair health until sometime last fall, when they were led to consult an
"eclectic” practitioner residing in town. The doctor told them that the girl had disease of the liver and of the lungs. The heart disease he was not so sure about; but thought when he had cured her liver and lungs, the heart would be all right. The girl continued under the doctor's treatment for several weeks, and grew steadily worse all the time, notwithstanding the superior skill and means for combating disease that the practitioners of that school are supposed to possess. At length I was called to see the patient, and in the night I found her with extreme anasarcous swelling of the lower limbs and body, unable to lie down or rest in any position, except by being held up and supported with her head and body bent forward. Her breath
ing was short, her pulse irregular, intermitting, and feeble, with an almost incessant dry cough, precluding sleep for a moment; the child seemed to be nearly exhausted, and I must confess, I almost despaired of being able to do her any good. With the view of relieving the congh, I dealt out a small powder of sulph. morphine and ipecac. and gave the patient. Its effect was apparent at once, quieting the cough almost immediately. I left other powders to be given pro re nata, and promised to call again in the morning. In the morning I found that with the use of an occasional powder, the cough had remained quieted, and the patient had slept considerably, supported in her mother's arms. I prescribed,
R. Infus. digitalis, f Ziv.
Potass. acetat. 335.-M.
A teaspoonful to be given every two hours. In a few hours time, the child began to pass urine freely, and the next day, upon calling, I noticed a marked improvement in every respect. In a week's time, the chill was well, with the exception, of course, of the heart trouble. She continues in reasonable healthi up to the present time of writing.
Two or three years ago one of our poor directors requested me to visit a man (an Irishinan) and see if I could do anything for him. He had been ailing for months, perhaps a year, and “ had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that he had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse." I called to see the man, found him suffering under an enormous anasarcous swelling of his body and limbs, but no symptoms of hydrothorax. I prescribed the same mixture as in the former mentioned case, to be given in tablespoonful doses every two hours. Suffice it to say that the usual surprising effects on the kidneys followed, and for a few days the man's business was to attend to nature's urinary calls. A speedy, and apparently entire, recovery ensued, and the man went to work as a laborer on the public streets. A sequel, however, remains to be told. Some two months afterwards, the man, while at work, fell dead on the street. No post-mortem in the case was had.
I could relate half a score or more cases similar to the above, which I have treated in the same way within a very few years, and without exception, with the same speedy and favorable result, i.e., the same active and rapid removal by the kidneys of the dropsical effusion. Formerly, or until I met with and used this prescription, there was no class of “ills that flesh is heir to," the treatment of which was inore unsatisfactory, and the result more uncertain, than
the class of derangements under consideration. But now all is changed. When I am called to a dropsical case, and encounter the anxious and inquiring look of the patient, I can smile and speak hope to the troubled soul, with a promise of a speedy cure. Of course, I am too old a practitioner to be unduly sanguine about any remedy, or to suppose that I have really found a specific for dropsy. I simply state what the preparation has effected thus far in my hands, and the sumining up of the result certainly shows a compound of unusual value, and warrants the praise I bestow upon it.
The following is reported by Dr. G. UNDERWOOD, of Pittston:
Quite a large amount of sickness has prevailed the past year in Pittston. Along with our usual amount of intermittent and remittent fevers, we have had a large share of typhoid fever, typhoid pneumonia, scarlet fever, measles, and diphtheria.
As a general thing, most of the diseases have yielded readily to treatment, yet some, especially typhoid pneumonia and diphtheria, bave proved very obstinate. I have but few cases of interest to report at present. One, an old case of years' standing, of hepatic derangement, Mrs. D-, often confined to her room for a number of days, then regaining her usual health, which was never very good, was taken to her bed March 27, 1875. Symptoms: Violent pain in her right side over the region of the hepatic ducts, skin and eyes yellow, tongue coated with black plush-looking fur, urine turbid, and nearly the color of blood. In a few days a tumor showed itself over the region of the transverse colon, which presented quite an external enlargement. Quite suddenly the tumor disappeared, followed by a large discharge of bloody matter. She soon began to show signs of improvement, and on the 25th of May, was discharged from my direct care. Assuming again a tolerable state of health, she attended to her domestic duties till, on the 16th of October, was taken to her bed again with about the same symptoms as before, followed by the same kind of discharge, but showing no appearance of tumor. Died on the 13th of November. About one week before she died, and about a week after the last discharge of bloody matter, she showed again favorable symptoms of recovery, jaundiced appearance of the eyes and skin almost disappeared, she began to regain strength, got about the house, and in less than three and a half hours before she died, she took nourishment. She said to some of her friends that she believed that she was going to die, and in less than five minutes was gone.
Jan. 13, 1876, was called to see J. Ha, aged 14. While working in the coal breaker, he and other cracker boys, finding time
to play, amused themselves by throwing culm at one another, and, by accident, some one threw some in young H's. face, causing him to fall backwards, striking the back of his head on the coal screen, causing partial insensibility, difficulty of swallowing, inability to speak only by indistinct utterances, nervous twitchings, and dilated pupils.
When called to see him, I couli detect no external injury, nor could I learn anything regarding the case except that he had been playing in the cracker, and some of the boys had thrown culm in his face, and they were of the opinion, from his not being able to speak, that he had swallowed some of it. From the above symptoms, I made up my mind that this was not the case, but that he had fallen on the back of his head, causing concussion of the brain. His father, by visiting the breaker, found my conclusions correct. I ordered bromide of potassium, chloral hydrate, āā grs. XV., cold to the head, and leeches applied behind the ears. Called again in the evening, and found him wild, and such excitement as to require three to hold him in bed.
The leeches were not applied on account of his violent excitement. I immediately drew from his arm about 16 ozs. of blood. The blood had hardly started before he spoke, said I was killing him, called for a drink, which was readily taken, and before I had finished bleeding him, he fell asleep. I did not see him again till 10 o'clock next day. I learned that he had rested well all night, but, on finding him somewhat nervous, and his pulse full, I applied three leeches to his temples, which had the desired effect in perfectly quieting all nervous symptoms. He took a saline cathartic, which about ended his treatment.
Dr. G. W. GUTHRIE, of Wilkesbarre, furnishes the following case of intussusception:
On Sunday morning, Feb. 20, 1876, I was called to M. H., a little girl aged six years, suffering from severe pain, paroxysmal in character, and located in the right iliac region—corresponding to the position of the ileo-cæcal valve.
The friends gave a history of an attack of measles which had terminated two weeks previously. Otherwise the child bad been pretty well. Had had an operation of the bowels the day before, but there was no account of vomiting or other trouble.
Thinking it an attack of intestinal colic, I prescribed an anodyne and a cathartic, with mild counter-irritation by means of mustard. On Monday, word was sent me that the child was easier, so I did not visit her. In the evening of the same day, however, I learned