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Spencer Wells was the first to vehemently oppose the dangerous exaggeration of the laparotomy that had become almost epidemic. He said the ovary, sick or well, is the nucleus of gynecology; that double ovariotomy is inadvisable in nervous diseases and psychoses. He jocosely suggested that female physicians might attain the majority and have recourse to reprisals, having men, nervously ill or not, castrated. In 1887 Willers reviewed spaying as it figured in medical literature and concluded that it gave the worst results and in no wise cured neuroses. In 1891. Playfair reported four of Tait's operations, done to remedy simple neuroses:
1. Painful neurosis; no benefit from operation; cured, finally, by medical treatment.
2. A similar case; the operation was about to be performed when the patient declined it and was later cured by Playfair's systematic treatment.
3. Neurosis, with concomitant lesions of the uterine annexes, result of operation being amelioration.
4. Hystero-epilepsy and mania, unsuccessfully treated by operation. Playfair opposes such operative practice and declares ablation of the annexes not justified in cases of functional neurosis. Angelucci and Pieraccini conclude that if some operation must be done, a simulated one, with effusion of blood, is best; Greig-Schmidt says castration of men is really quite as proper, as a remedy for nervousness, as the indiscriminate spaying proposed by Gadlee of mentally diseased women presenting abnormal, sexual propensities. The author wonders how so superficial a theory as that of reflex irritation could have accquired or can maintain the empire it exercises over the medical mind.
Thousands of lesions of the organs in question exalt the irritation a hundred fold, without the least indication of the neurosis appearing. Irritations appear purely dynamic, hence only nervous filaments can transmit them to the centres. This error is flagrant and double. Nothing proves that the "irritation" is not a material principle, and the vasculatory system is quite as proper a channel for the dissemination and transport, to the centres, of the morbid principles.
In a later article will be reviewed, the author promises, the principal facts relating to hysteria. Some operative success has determined his conviction: he says he has been guided by a hope of discovering to what causes the failures ought to be imputed, of stating precisely what conditions the operative act ought to fulfil, in order that he might entertain a reasonable opinion about the pathogenesis of hysteria.
Edited by Harry Seymour Pearse, M. D.
State Hospital for Consumptives.-Senator George A. Davis has introduced in the Senate the bill for the establishment of a State Hospital for the treatment of incipient pulmonary tuberculosis in the Adirondacks.
The bill appropriates $200,000 for the purchase of a site and the erection and equipping of the hospital. The bill authorizes the Governor to appoint with the consent of the Senate a board of nine trustees, two of whom shall be residents of the same judicial district, two of whom shall be physicians and two of whom shall be women, the term of office of one member to expire each year. The trustees shall receive no compensation but shall be allowed $600 a year each for traveling expenses. Any trustee may be removed from office at any time by the Governor with the consent of the Senate.
This Board of Trustees shall take care of the general interests of the hospital and maintain an effective inspection of its affairs and management.
The Board is also required to make a full report annually to the State Board of Charities, and the State Board of Charities shall in its annual report to the Legislature certify what appropriations are necessary.
The Trustees are given power to appoint a Superintendent of the hospital who shall be a well educated physician not a member of the Board of Trustees. The Superintendent shall appoint all necessary employes and fix their compensation. The Trustees shall also appoint a Treasurer who shall have custody of all the funds of the institution. Either of these officers may be removed at any time by the Trustees. All
medical assistants and examining physicians are
be appointed by the Trustees upon the nomination of the Superintendent.
The Trustees are given power to receive patients who have no ability to pay, but no person shall be admitted to the hospital who has not been a citizen of this State for at least one year preceding the date of application. Every person desiring free treatment shall apply to the local authorities of his or her town, city or county having charge of the relief of the poor, who shall thereupon issue a written request to an examining physician in the same city or county for examination. No person shall be admitted as a patient without the certificate of one of the examining physicians certifying that such applicant is suffering from incipient pulmonary tuberculosis. The local authorities having charge of the relief of the poor shall state in writing whether the person is able to pay for his or her care and treatment while at the hospital, which statement shall be attached to the certificate of the examining physician and filed with the Superintendent of the hospital Every person who is thus declared to be unable to pay for his or her care or treatment shall be transported to and from the hospital at the expense of the local authorities. Applicants who are able to pay for their care shall apply in person to one of the examining physicians but preference shall always be given to indigent patients.
The Superintendent is required to furnish to the Comptroller each month a statement of all the free patients and the Comptroller shall collect from the local officials the sums due for the care of the patients.
Important Bills in New York Legislature.—Assembly bill No.
22; Senate bill No. 7. An Act “In relation to Offensive
Trades in the Borough of Brooklyn.” This law prohibits any person or corporation from carrying on the business of bone boiling, burning, grinding, horse skinning, or the skinning of dead animals or the boiling of offal, and provides that the Board of Health shall ascertain whether any such trade or business is being carried on, and shall direct its discontinuance.
Senate bill No. 11. An Act "Empowering the Commissioner
of Agriculture to investigate food adulterations and
adulterated foods, and making an appropriation therefor." The Commissioner of Agriculture is authorized to examine food products and may employ such agents, chemists and other experts as he may deem necessary. The sum of ten thousand dollars is appropriated for the purposes of this act. The Commissioner shall make annual recommendations to the Legislature. Senate bill No. 19. An Act "For the regulation of pharma
cists and druggists, and to prevent accidents and mistakes in the preparing and compounding of prescriptions
in the city of New York.” No pharmacist shall be required to work more than twelve hours in any one day, and not more than one hundred and thirty-six hours in two consecutive weeks. No clerk shall be required to sleep in a pharmacy or laboratory connected therewith. It shall be the duty of the Board of Health to adopt rules and ordinances for the enforcement of this act. Senate bill No. 24. This is an act to repeal a certain chap
ter of the laws of 1896 entitled an act "relative to the supply of pure and wholesome water in certain counties of this State."
Edited by H. Judson Lipes, M. D. ALBANY MEDICAL COLLEGE ALUMNI AssociATION OF THE CITY OF New YORK.—The fifth annual banquet of the Association was held at the Hotel Savoy on the evening of January 19th. The table, garnished with flowers and greens, was spread in the parlor dining-room. At its head sat the Vice-President, Dr. Robert F. Macfarlane, who presided at the dinner in the absence of Major Kimball, the President, and right and left of him the Association's guests. At two wings were the members.
Dr. Raymond, President of Union College, was expected, but unlooked for business detained him. But Profs. Albert Vander Veer and Samuel B. Ward were on hand to speak for the medical department. Mr. Chester S. Lord sat at Dr. Macfarlane's right, and at his left, Major T. Bentley Mott, Assistant Adjutant General of the Department of the East, U. S. A. The other guests were Dr. John B. Chapin, Superintendent of the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane, Philadelphia; Dr. George Henry Fox, professor of dermatology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Mr. George W. Kirchwey, professor of law in Columbia University. Major Kimball was kept away by a severe cold which threatened further complications. He sent his annual address, and this was read by Dr. Macfarlane.
Dr. Kimball referred in laudatory tones to his Alma Mater, and referred to the inembers of the faculty by whom he was taught. After thanking the Association for the honor conferred upon him in selecting him as its President, he spoke upon the “Army's Medical Service,” concluding as follows:
"Since the beginning of the Spanish-American war this department, in common with other branches of our army, has suffered so much reckless, often hostile, criticism that I have sometimes feared lest the service should become discredited in the estimation of my brother practitioners in civil life.
“That the medical service of the army during the early part of the war was without flaw or blemish no one will contend. Typhoid fever ravaged our camps, field hospitals were overcrowded, there was suffering which need not have been had due preparation for war preceded its outbreak.
"The situation has been forcibly stated by the Surgeon-General of the Army, who has said: 'A trained medical corps hardly adequate for an army of 25,000 men, cannot control the sanitary situation when this army is quickly expanded to 250,000. Physicians and surgeons from civil life, however well qualified professionally, as a rule are not prepared to assume the responsibilities of officers charged with administrative duties and the sanitary supervision of camps.' And we may add that with new levies of untrained and undisciplined troops, it is impracticable to enforce proper sanitary regulations in camp.
"But these conditions were only temporary. A knowledge of administrative and executive duties was gradually acquired, as was also a mastery of the system of accounts, requisitions and records, sometimes derisively referred to as red tape, but a system which is necessary in the conduct of every large office or business. Furthermore, new and most valuable features were introduced by the medical department, as for instance the hospital ships, which have done such splendid service.
"And now, although our troops were subjected to the debilitating influence of campaigning in the tropics, though they marched through malarious jungles and lay in trenches dug in a malarious soil, though they were encamped in yellow fever districts, though the clamor which arose about overcrowded and undersupplied transports was loud and long, though tales of woe were told of the camps from Tampa to Montauk, yet we can now assert, and maintain the assertion from the records, that the mortality from disease during the war with Spain was low. In the first year of the civil war the death rate from disease was 46 per thousand. From May 1, 1898 to April 30, 1899, the death rate from disease in our army was 26 per thousand.