Page images
PDF
EPUB

Obituary.

A TRIBUTE TO THE MEMORY OF DR. LEVINGSTON LINDSAY.

This is not an obituary, nor is it intended as a biographical sketch of Dr. Levingston Lindsay. Doubtless his memory will receive this honor at more competent hands. It is my purpose as a medical man, writing of a medical man to medical men, to deal with some of the traits which characterized Dr. Lindsay as a physician and as a man among men. If he were standing and looking over my shoulder as I pen this tribute to his memory, and lay this laurel upon his grave, he would say, "Deal with my life as it was; I want no fulsome eulogy," for he had no use for shams and abhorred hypocrisy. Hence, in dealing with certain features of his life and character, I shall write of him in a manner that I am sure would meet with his approval were he by me.

Driven into the medical profession by force of circumstances rather than by his own choosing, it was his lifelong regret that he did not choose the legal profession for the exercise of his splendid talents. Possessing an analytical mind capable of weighing the most intricate questions of right and justice, he would have honored that noble profession; and as a jurist his high sense of justice and his acute perception of right would have caused him to take rank among the first. To say that he lacked some of the qualities which it takes to constitute the well-rounded physician is no reflection upon his moral worth or mental ability. This fact was as painfully apparent to him as it was readily observed by his warmest admirers. If he lacked delicacy of touch, it was more than compensated by the warmth of his heart and honesty of his purpose. If his diagnostic skill could be called in question by an expert, it was offset by his untiring devotion to the interest of his patient. If his seeming indifference caused unfavorable comment, when the patient was not much sick, the deficiency was amply met when he was aroused to the exigencies of the case. The first generally to suggest a consultation in the case of his own patient, he made no concealments of any neglect or mistakes which may have been made in diagnosis or treatment. If called by a brother practitioner he left nothing undone which medical skill could suggest. He was the soul

of honor when he had the reputation of a brother practitioner in his keeping.

After an experience in the sick-room with this honored man for a period of time covering more than a quarter of a century, I can truthfully say of him what any man should feel proud to have said of him, I never knew him to do an unprofessional or a dishonest act. His candor was proverbial, and often subjected him to harsh and unjust criticism, which he bore with the fortitude of a martyr, and with Spartan heroism pursued the even tenor of his way, until the dimmed eye and faltering step caused his friends to admonish him that it was time to call a halt. What his friends could so readily see was not apparent to him. On he went, through winter's cold and summer's heat, through sleet and rain, this servant of humanity gave himself unreservedly to an unappreciative constituency. But the end approached. The hand which so often administered to others grew tremulous; the heart which had beat in unison with suffering humanity began to quaver, and over the protest of an iron will the “beloved physician” retired to his happy home to meet the inevitable—where, sitting in his reclining chair, surrounded by every necessary comfort, with tender and loving hands to anticipate every want, the silvery head began to droop, the flickering pulse ceased to beat, and he who had so often driven back the angel of death from other hearth-stones, was in the grasp of the merciless conqueror, and his spirit went into the hands of that God “who is too wise to err, and too good to do wrong."

J. W. CRENSHAW, M. D. Cadiz, Ky., January 8, 1898.

A SLICK TRICK ON PHYSICIANS.-A very smooth party, representing a new Western life insurance company, dropped into Cleveland recently and called upon a number of physicians with the tale that he was about to do a large business here and wished to appoint two examiners. His company, however, had “instructed him to do business with those who would do business with him," so if the doctor would kindly take a policy for $5,000 (no less would do), he would be appointed an examiner. It is to be regretted that, if rumor speaks truly, a few doctors were still to be found there who jumped at this threadbare bait.-Journal of the American Medical Association.

Notes and Queries.

To the Editor of the American Practitioner and News:

Please announce in your next issue that the Kentucky State Medical Society will hold its Forty-third Annual Session at Maysville, beginning on Wednesday, May 11, 1898, and continuing through Thursday and Friday, the 12th and 13th.

The signs are auspicious already for a successful meeting. Dr. H. K. Adamson, Maysville, is chairman of the Committee of Arrangements, to whom communications may be addressed relative to this medical gathering. The chairman vouches for the statement that arrangements will be perfected in every channel, that nothing will be left undone to give eclat to the "Fortythird Annual" by the profession of the City of Maysville and County of Mason; that they will make it the counterpart of the best in the history of the Society, professionally or socially; that everybody will be so pleasantly and profitably regaled that he who stays away will wish he hadn't. And Adamson is his own parallel !

The Committee on Topics, composed of Drs. David Barrow, William Bailey, and J. N. McCormack, is now in session, arranging subjects for discussion at this meeting. This is a difficult task, and it is to be hoped that those who may be selected to write and to read at Maysville in May, 1898, may accept the compliment quickly, thus saving the committee needless repetitions with the pen.

Exhibiters who desire space-space at the "Kentucky State Medical" is always free--may obtain a diagram of the hall, and other particulars, by addressing the Committee of Arrangements. I shall be pleased to answer, at all times, matters pertaining to the Society.

STEELE BAILEY, M. D., STANFORD, KY., Jan. 10, 1898.

Permanent Secretary.

BRAIN DESUETUDE.-Speaking at Selkirk on the 8th instant, Sir James Crichton-Browne dwelt on the dangers to health involved in indolence and disuse of the brain. The medical profession, he said, adapting itself to the needs of the times, had felt it incumbent upon it during the last decade to insist mainly on the evils of misuse of the brain, on the excessive strain not seldom imposed on it in these days in the fierce struggle of the race to be rich, and more especially on the overpressure imposed on it in the name of education when in an immature state, but they were not less keenly alive to the correlative evils of the disuse of the brain. Elderly persons who gave up business and professional men who laid aside their avocations without having other interests or pursuits to which to turn were in many cases

plunged in despondency or hurried into premature dotage. He did not know any surer way of inducing premature mental decay than for a man of active habits to retire and do nothing, when just past the zenith of life; and, on the other hand, he did not know any surer way of enjoying a green old age than to keep on working at something till the close. It had been said that one of the rewards of philosophy was length of days, and a striking list might be presented of men distinguished for their intellectual labors which they had never laid aside, who had far exceeded the allotted span of human life. Galileo lived to seventy-eight, Newton to eighty-five, Franklin to eighty-five, Buffon to eighty, Farraday to seventy-six, and Brewster to eighty-four years. Sir James Crichton-Browne drew special attention to the great age generally attained by our judges. Our judges were, he said, men who could never fall into routine, but were called upon, as long as they held office, for mental effort in considering and deciding on the new points and cases which were constantly submitted to them. For the most part they liad at one period of their lives undergone some overstrain in the active practice of an exacting profession, and yet they lived to a ripe old age, and were, he believed-notwithstanding the jokes and jibes of hungry aspirants at the bar--more exempt from dotage than any other class of the community. The sustained brain-friction in their case kept that organ bright and polished. These facts, he thought, ought to inspire us with some doubt as to the wisdom of the compulsory retirement and pension regime under which we lived. He had known several cases of mental disease induced solely by enforced idleness in men turned out of the public service, and more particularly the army, in conformity with a fixed rule, while still in the prime of life and capable of useful work. On entering the public service a man had to ascend by graduated steps of increasing work and responsibility. Was it not possible to arrange graduated steps of diminishing work and responsibility by which he might descend on leaving it? Much waste and wretchedness might thus be saved. The physiological notion of life was not cruel overpressure at the beginning, penal servitude in the middle, and silly superannuation at the end, but the timely, continuous, orderly, well-balanced exercise of all the functions and faculties with which the being is endowed.-Lancet.

HONOR THE PHYSICIAN.-"Honor the physician for the need thou hast of him, for the Most High hath created him.” (Ecclesiasticus, chapter xxxviii.) These words evidently apply to the true physician only. It is equally certain that there are some masquerading under the title of doctor who are not real and true physicians. How then are we to know who are true physicians and whom to honor?

In creating them whom does God select, the Christian or the infidel, the honest or the dishonest person, the student or the idler, the temperate or the intemperate? Does it not seem that in bestowing these gifts to qualify them for this honor, he would select the true Christian, of good integrity

and habits, who gives his whole time and attention to his profession, rather than the unbeliever, the unprincipled, or the person who devotes his time mostly to other matters?

If this subject were fully elaborated, it occurs to us that it would give us not only most excellent suggestions for our general deportment, but furnish at least some criteria by which persons needing them might be able to select true physicians and escape the clutches of charlatans. The true physician, when not attending his patients, is usually found in his office with his medical books and journals, refreshing his memory and storing his mind with useful information pertaining to the practice of his art, while less worthy members of the profession oftentimes give much of their time to other things, even it is said sometimes encroaching somewhat upon matters not of their own special concern, and then endeavor to make up for lack of professional attainments by resorting to the artful schemes and tricks of empiricism.

Brethren of the medical profession, lest you should be considered as belonging to the latter class, take heed of your conduct, that you may come within the scope of those referred to in the divine command which heads this article.-A. G. Blincoe, A. M., M. D., Bardstown, Ky., in the Charlotte Medical Journal.

LACERATION OF VAGINAL FORNIX IN LABOR.-Everke (Centralbl. f. Gynak.) has already reported three cases of complete laceration of the posterior vaginal fornix during labor, and now adds a fourth. The patient had one child; the first labor was very lingering. On this occasion the medical attendant applied the forceps and could not extract the child. The mother had a narrow pelvis and the child was dead; on careful exploration, it was found loose in the peritoneal cavity, whence it was drawn out. The patient was greatly collapsed. The wound was drained, but she died. The uterus was found quite intact after death, but the vagina was nearly torn off it and the bladder badly injured. Everke holds that contraction of the pelvis is an important agent in the cause of puerperal laceration of the vagina. The fetal skull is very firmly pressed against the upper part of the vagina when the pelvis is contracted but the pains strong. If a gynecologist is called in to a case of this accident, after the child has been delivered he should push any prolapsed intestine upward over the promontory, draw down the uterus, and sew up the laceration. Suture is the only method for stopping thoroughly the hemorrhage, often very dangerous in these cases. Should the child be undelivered, it must be extracted first; and if it has slipped into the peritoneal cavity, abdominal section is the most rational means of extraction. Yet this can often be done easily from below, and then of course it can not be expected that the doctor will open the abdomen in the lying-in room. One objection to that course in this complication is the difficulty of closing the vaginal laceration from above.British Medical Journal.

« PreviousContinue »