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MEDICAL SOCIETIES.

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established for the reading of cases and essays on points of interest selected by the teachers. Several students whose future was great appeared first as essayists on the very subjects which afterwards made them famous, a circumstance exemplified by Astley Cooper's paper on “ Diseases of the Breast” at the Edinburgh Students' Society. This society has existed 130 years, and in it Cullen, Brown, Black, Monro, and Macbride (of Dublin) first broached the topics which have made their names famous. In Dublin two such societies meet, and in that city they are especially useful, as in one school the pupils of several hospitals will meet and communicate the striking cases in each. One of the societies is endowed with six annual prizes, encouraging original research. The London Students' Society meets alternately at each hospital.

The change which is most required in medical societies, as well as in those which are engaged in the study of the natural sciences, is amalgamation rather than multiplication. As it has been argued that there should be but two branches of the profession, the medico-chirurgical and the obstetrical, so there should be only two medical societies in such a metropolis as Dublin. In the two great Scotch cities such is the number, but in so vast a metropolis as London more sub-division is evidently called for. In Dublin the Surgical Society meets every alternate Friday in December, January, February, March, and April, at 8 o'clock, in the College of Surgeons, which body bears all expenses save those of refreshments, for which a subscription of 58. yearly suffices. Discussion of the communications is allowed, Fellows of the college are ex-officio members, and are alone eligible for council-licentiates and other practitioners of standing are elected by ballot.

The Medical Society meets monthly during the winter session in the College of Physicians; the fellows and licentiates of that body only being eligible as mem

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AMALGAMATION OF THE MEDICAL SOCIETIES.

bers, but other practitioners can be introduced as visi. tors.

The Pathological Society (which owes its establishment and support to Prof. R. W. Smith) meets on every Saturday during the session at 4 o'clock in the anatomical theatre of Trinity College. Specimens are exhibited and described, no discussion being permitted, An annual subscription of £1 constitutes membership. A most valuable feature is the giving of a gold medal for an essay on a subject proposed five months before; twelve such have been given, and six of the recipients have already attained the rank of hospital surgeons.

The Obstetrical Society meets in the Rotundo, and has already done very great service in this speciality of the profession.

It seems most desirable and very feasible that the Medical, Surgical, and Pathological Societies should be amalgamated. A case or specimen of which the narrator is proud is often brought forward at more than one of them, which proves most tiresome to punctual members of both. Cases which possess no peculiarity or interest of any kind are also inflicted on the members, from the fact that the councils have no choice of communications to fill up the time, and the selection of purely surgical subjects at one, and purely medical at the other, tends to keep up the injurious division of the profession which we have dwelt on elsewhere.

The subjects of each meeting should be announced some days before to members, and in the medical journals, so that those interested in each topic should have notice. It is sometimes said that this would induce members to coach up—an advantage, it seems to me ; but at any rate, it is adopted in all the best medical and scientific societies of the day.

The amalgamated body-for which " the MedicoChirurgical Society" would be the fittest name-might meet once weekly from October to May inclusive.

SOCIAL AND BENEVOLENT SOCIETIES.

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Evening has been found in every medical society most convenient, as many other engagements prevent attendance in the afternoon. The Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons should alternately give accommodation, and those who wish still to keep up the separation between physic and surgery might have the choice of submitting their communications in one or other place. If the number of papers increased very much, separate sections, meeting in different parts of the building at the same time, might be arranged—à plan which, at Burlington House, has been found most advantageous. The members of all the societies should be made members of the new one ; fellows of the two colleges and hospital physicians and surgeons should be ex-officio members, and other members should be elected by ballot irrespectively of their diplomas or the branches of the profession they belonged to, the only qualification being evidence that they desired to advance medical and surgical knowledge. Other practitioners, and such students as residents and clinical clerks, who would most profit by admission, should be admitted by members' orders, of which only one should be allowed to each member, according to present accommodation-but this should be increased. Original members should pay 10s. yearly, or a life composition of £5, and new members £1 yearly. The fund thus collected would provide refreshments, bear the expense of a separate volume of Transactionsfor publication in the medical journals is not a sufficient record—and would leave a considerable sum, probably £50, for the establishment of a prize-fund or of a circulating library. The meeting should occupy at least two hours, the first of which might be devoted to the exhibition and demonstration of morbid specimens, and the announcement of hospital cases still under observation. Committees might be struck for the purpose of fully investigating cases which were confessedly obscure. Every member should have a vote in the election of the

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SOCIAL AND BENEVOLENT SOCIETIES. council; the method pursued in two of the societiesnamely, the council nominating to vacant seats, should become obsolete, as it is in almost every other enlightened institution.

Another most valuable means for encouraging good fellowship among the profession is the institution of clubs or dinner societies, meeting alternately at the members' houses. The Pow-wow Club, which John Hunter established, was probably the first of its kind. In Dublin, among a few seniors, there is an analogous association, known as the Medico-Philosophical, the latter part of which title is often irreverently construed as fill-æsophageal. The juniors should meet for these by no means despicable purposes, plain fare and temperance being inviolable rules. In London a medical club, which affords all the conveniences of club life, has been so successful as to number 650 members during this its first year.

To relieve the pressing necessities due to disease and other ills among medical men and their families, the truly excellent Dr. Kingsley, in 1842, founded the Medical Benevolent Fund Society of Ireland, and richly endowed it by gift and bequest. It was not to be a benefit or assurance society ; but, on the contrary, the imperative duty of providing for his family under emergency is urged on all. Over £9,000 has been since distributed, the largest number of applicants and the largest sum available having been those of last year, when they were respectively 85 and £850—figures accidentally proportionate. The funded property exceeds £15,000, nearly one-third of which is due to the munificence of Richard Carmichael. The affairs of the society are most fully published, the names of the recipients being of course only made known to the committee. Out of the 85 applications a few may be noted : " Widow aged 70—husband died of typhus-2 children, 1. insane ; means, £10 per annum; £12 granted.

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QUACKERY. Widow aged 47-husband died of disease of brain8 children from 11 to 24 years; means about £25 per annum; £15 granted. Widow aged 31-husband died of rheumatic, fever--3 children from 2 to 5 years; means, £4 15s.; £15 granted.” The request of this society to the College of Surgeons, that the portrait of its benevolent founder should be moved to a more prominent part of their building, was indeed reas

asonable, when the amount of good his intentions have wrought is considered.

In England, besides a benevolent fund for the widows and orphans of medical men, there is a college for the education of their children, which was founded and, largely endowed by the late Mr. Propert, F.R.C.S.

QUACKERY. No topic more aptly than quackery illustrates the truth that by little wisdom is the world ruled, and that unlimited is human credulity. Dr. Johnson thus defines a quack: “A boasted pretender to arts which he does not understand : à vain boasting pretender to physic : one who proclaims his own medical abilities in public places : an artful, tricking practitioner in physic." The history of quackery in by-gone days is full of amusing incidents. The prototype seems to have been Andrew Borde, a fellow whose absurdities and comicalities have gained for his disciples the epithet of “ Merry Andrews" ever since. With the pedantic bombast of the day, he Latinised his name as Andreas Perforatusi.e., bored. To be explained as it may, the fact is undoubted that quackery thrives more in England than any other country, and especially since the Reformation.

Patronage of quacks by high, even royal personages has in all ages been common. For instance, Queen Anne selected as her oculists a quondam tailor and a cobbler, the former of whom she knighted. By puffing,

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