Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

Chairs of hygiene hare been rarely founded, that at the College of Surgeons being the only one among the medical schools of the United Kingdom, and that at Netley, for the instruction of military surgeons, being the most comprehensive and practical in the world. The great Cullen lectured on hygiene as part of his course on institutes of medicine. · Physiology and hygiene" would be a wiser combination of subjects than “ anatomy and physiology,” for the all-important subject of anatomy should be left to distinct teachers. The teacher of this subject could not be paid by pupils' fees, for in the present overcrowded state of the curriculum, it would be unreasonable to add it as a compulsory course. There is not much in the subject that physiology does not elucidate ; and if the lecturer on that science gave his opening twelve lectures on public health every second year, students commencing, those more advanced, and the public of the town would be sufficiently lectured to. The same professor might on the alternate years devote as many lectures to animal physiology and classification. The College of Physicians have directed that instruction in hygiene shall be given by either the professor of medicine or forensic medicine. Some body should undertake to teach the laws of public health, else it is most foolish to call on corporations to appoint officers of health while no arrangements for training them exist. During the last session of the Medical Council, Profs. Acland and Stokes advocated the granting of separate qualifications in hygiene.

COMPARATIVE ANATOMY AND PATHOLOGY. Very many of the regular arrangements in inferior animals are copied in the abnormalities of man-e.g., the intermaxillary bone of most mammals is imitated in double barelip and cleft palate. Many diseases of

.

COMPARATIVE ANATOMY AND PATHOLOGY. 151 domestic animals—cattle-plague, pleuro-pneumonia, andi tetanus, for example---afford opportunities of pathological investigation and experimental treatment which the human patient does not present. Many most useful remedial means are afforded by the animal kingdom, and to it belong many of the parasites which attack us. Just as in physiology the laws of the healthy body have been mainly ascertained by studying humbler organic forms, pathology, or the laws of unhealthy action, will especially improve through the study of the diseases of animals. The bequest of the late Mr. Brown has enabled the London University to found an establishment for the study and treatment of diseases of animals, and important additions will be doubtless made to pathological science. In Ireland there is yet no means of teaching the veterinary art, and great losses to the agricultural interests of the country ensue. A novel malady termed charbon is at present rife among cattle, sheep, and swine, and has been communicated with fatal results to several human beings. It is surely worthy of profound scientific investigation. Some of the medical schools which possess museums of comparative anatomy might, without loss of dignity, admit veterinary students. In Austria and Prussia all medical students are obliged to study the diseases of animals, and if they settle in remote districts, to treat them as well as human maladies. Those who are expert in veterinary medicine are preferred for district physicians. Agriculturists, meat inspectors, and horse owners also attend the great school in Vienna. When cattle-plague invaded Scotland in 1770, the illustrious Dr. Cullen was the person chosen to advise the government as to its nature and prevention. At one time the examiners of the Veterinary College were Sir A. Cooper, Sir B. Brodie, Sir C. Bell, and Drs. Babington and Bright. No court of examiners in modern or ancient times ever contained so many men whose names are immortal.

[blocks in formation]

CHEMISTRY. Chemistry is the noblest science which can occupy man's mind, and is therefore, exclusive of its many bearings on medicine, a knowledge which the student should

master. At every step physiology wants its aid, and in the prescribing of medicines its principles must be understood, in order that the components shall combine and not mutually decompose, becoming detrimental or inert. A perusal of the writings of such masters of chemical pathology as Lehmann, Bence Jones, or Garrod, will convince anyone that the future of medicine is more dependent on organic chemistry than any other branch of human knowledge. Even during the last century this was felt, for many of the greatest pathologists-Boerhaave, Cullen, and Gaubius, for example-held the combined chairs of physic and chemistry. Accurate diagnosis of the diseases of many of the secreting organs cannot be made without the skilful employment of chemical tests. Many of the sounds and motions, normal and abnormal, of the respiratory and circulating organs depend on the principles which the science of natural philosophy elucidates; and its branches, heat, electricity, and optics, are most valuable not only in explaining the physics of the human body, but in affording suggestions for alleviating its ailments. It should then form an element of both preliminary and professional study.

BOTANY, PHARMACY, ETC. There is no more efficient exercise for the great faculty of observation than the exact science botany ; and as the vegetable world yields nearly all our medicaments, the importance of its study has been always fully recognized. Lectures, examinations, and herborizations are the means the student can command. However, botany, as well as chemistry and physics, should be

BOTANY, PHARMACY, ETC.

153

made preliminary to the proper medical courses. By having so many subjects compressed into three years the student is confused, and, in the words of Huxley, you “ destroy his mental digestion, and make a sort of intellectual foie gras of him.” The artizan who did not understand the appliances of his art would, indeed, be unscientific, and the medical practitioner must also have an accurate knowledge of the many curative agents mankind has been blest with. This knowledge is to be gained from lectures on materia medica and therapeutics, and the exercise of the information so acquired during his attendance on practical pharmacy, which many bodies wisely enforce for some few months. The lecturer on materia medica might, with advantage, make his course (or a second one) an opportunity for the students to practise dispensing, the more so as it is now much simplified, the multiplicity of “bases, adjuvants, correctives, and vehicles” being obsolete. Complexity has tended to delay the acquisition of positive facts about the action of medicines, for with a heterogeneous mixture of half-a-score, who can tell the effect of each. Therapeutics are not scientifically taught, and hence the ignorance and scepticism so common on the subject. It behoves the practitioner to gain a knowledge of pharmacy, as errors may be discovered and made known by the compounder (mayhap a rival practitioner), and in addition to the public danger, damaging exposure may follow. The subject of materia medica has been much facilitated by the publication, during the present year, of a national Pharmacopæia; the greatest boon the Medical Council has conferred, and by comprehensive treatises, the most popular of which issues from the Dublin press. Notwithstanding the crowd of subjects which force themselves on the student's attention, the subject of forensic medicine should never be neglected. It is a resume of previous knowledge made applicable to the aid of judicial investigations. It is much to be regretted

[blocks in formation]

that the examinations of bodies by coroners do not take place in the medical schools, where the lecturer on jurisprudence and his class would learn much. Such is the case in Austria, post-mortem examinations being obligatory. There is no place where the reputation of a practitioner can be so easily made or unmade as a court of justice. The value of medical jurisprudence is evident in serving the criminal department of the state justice, and it is to be regretted that unseemly differences so often occur in tendering evidence. Some remedies for this evil have been proposed in previous pages.

The study of medical and surgical cases has been discussed under the head of hospital practice, but the importance of the study of lunacy in asylums may be again dwelt on.

In a school of medicine there should be a chair of psychology, normal and abnormal. The profession is not gaining respect in this department; for a late Lord Chancellor and other legal authorities in England viewed as “ absurd” the idea that medical men were better judges of the matter than other people.

OBSTETRICS. The next branch of medicine I shall dwell upon is the obstetric art. Considering its importance there is no just reason why it should hold an inferior rank; nevertheless, it was formerly a ground of disqualification for the fellowship of the College of Physicians and for the councilship of the College of Surgeons, London; such a restriction has not yet been removed. Dr. Smellie, one of the most famous teachers of the art, was held up to scorn, in 1748, for having a lantern above his door inscribed with the words midwifery taught here for five shillings.” If such a practice was general one cannot wonder at the rule of the colleges. Dr. Smellie acquired his commercial tastes wbile employed both as a draper and midwife in Lanark. It is now the exclusive employment of some of the most

« AnteriorContinuar »