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ONE CURE FOR HOSPITAL ABUSE. We are pleased to learn that one of the surest methods of preventing the abuse of medical charity has recently been adopted in one of the hospitals of our neighboring city, Philadelphia. A firm stand has been taken by the authorities of the Philadelphia Polyclinic which will for a time reduce its number of patients, but must eventually be of lasting benefit to it and should be adopted by it and all other institutions of its kind. The plan adopted is that every person presenting himself or herself for treatment at the hospital is given a blank like the following:
I hereby certify that I am unable to pay for the services of a doctor,
and on that account consider myself a proper person for free treatment in the dispensaries of the Polyclinic Hospital.
The following persons know that I am not able to employ a doctor:
The patient is at the same time instructed that this blank must be carefully filled out and signed before treatment can be received. The presentation of such a blank is undoubtedly humiliating to the person, but it is the result of long years of dishonesty and must be borne, as a vicarious punishment, by the worthy poor—a punishthrust upon them by their more fortunate but unconscientious neighbors. A part, and no small part, of the punishment must fall to the lot of the institutions who, in their efforts to outdo each other in the number of patients treated, have fostered, perhaps unconsciously, the abuse and closed their eyes to the deceit that made such an abuse possible. Their punishment will consist in greatly reduced numbers and perhaps in extinction. Such a method is not perfect; it is like every other law, susceptible of evasion, but if widely adopted and closely adhered to it will certainly down this
crying evil. We feel that this institution is to be congratulated not so much for its wisdom in recognizing the necessity of such an act, but especially in the possession of courage to do the right thing irrespective of every other consideration. Let us hope that other institutions will very soon follow this lead, for it is just and right, and what is just and right must prevail, and the sooner the better for all concerned.
notes and Comments.
Free Treatment. Statistics show that the hospitals and dispensaries of New York city annually treat, free of charge, a number of patients equal to about forty per cent. of the entire population. Moreover, they show that nearly thirty per cent. of the physicians are engaged in furnishing this free treatment. And then we ask ourselves why physicians as a class are not more prosperous !
Yellow Fever Immunes.-Several regiments of so-called yellow fever immunes have been formed to send to Cuba. A yellow fever immune is said to be one who has had the disease. The authorities state that one attack of yellow fever is a permanent protection against another. Now, yellow fever is a specific infectious disease. There is no specific infectious disease of this climate that may not appear a second time in the same patient. There are no exceptions, although second attacks of many of them are comparatively rare. Yellow fever is believed to be no exception to the laws governing specific infectious diseases with which we in the North are familiar; in fact, the positive statement may be made that the disease does recur. There is no such thing as a sure immunity against vellow fever. Recurrences may not be frequent, but they do take place.
Are Tablets Satisfactory?-In the “Therapeutic Gazette" for April Dr. E. M. Houghton discusses the activity of digitalis in tablet form. Careful experiments on frogs and dogs, with kymograph tracings, led the author to the conclusion that putting digitalis in tablet form does not impair its activity. Many of our homeopathic drugs, in fact, nearly all of them, are now put up in tablets. There is no question about the advantage of neatness, accuracy of dose and convenience, of tablet prescriptions. But do compressed tablets of plant derivatives act as well as liquid preparations? If asked to answer that off-hand the answer would be No! There is often disappointment in the action of tablets when the same remedy in liquid form has done the expected work. Careful investigation of this important subject should be made by our Materia Medica authorities.
The Use of the Bicycle.— Dr. C. A. Powell says in the North American Journal of Diagnosis and Practice that the following classes of persons should not ride the bicycle: First, women who have uterine disturbances, such as relaxation, subinvolution uteri, prolapsus, versions and flexions, and who have previously been the victims of pelvic inflammations, endometritis chronica, menorrhagia, etc. Secondly, all persons who have weak lungs, such as tuberculosis, asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis. Thirdly, all persons who are in any way troubled with their hearts, especially implied in valvular disease, endocarditis, myocarditis, atheroma, etc. Fourthly, all persons the subjects of, or the suspected subjects of aneurism should shun the bicycle as dangerous in the extreme. Fifthly, all males the sufferers from prostatic or other deep urethral inflammation. Sixthly, all who are affected with serious organic trouble of the bowels, bladder, kidneys or the other important viscera. This class of people are especially prone to feel the effects of bicycling.
Clinical Verifications of the Microscope in the Diagnosis of Tubercular Disease.Dr. J. P. Rand, of Worcester, Mass., prints in the "New England Medical Gazette" of March, 1898, the following tabulated result of a series of clinical verifications in tubercular disease:
Back Numbers, -It has been the custom for THE NORTII AMERICAN to keep complete files of back numbers for the convenience of its subscribers, but it is impossible for this to be longer done. After January 1, 1899, numbers for three years back only will be kept in stock, and only a small number of these. Tho: wishing back numbers must send in their orders at once.
Institute Officers and Chairmen.-President, Benjamin F. Bailey, M. D., Lincoln, Neb.; first vice-president, A. B. Norton, M.D., New York city, N. Y.; second vice-president, Sarah J. Vill
sop, V. D., Bowling Green, Ky.; general secretary, Eugene H. Porter, M. D.; recording secretary, Frank Kraft, M. D.,; treasurer, E. M. Kellogg, M. D.; assistant treasurer, T. F. Smith, M. D.; registrar, Henry M. Aldrich, M. D.; censor, Eldridge C. Price, M. D.
President Wright appointed the following chairmen of sections:
Clinical medicine, Dr. Charles Gatchell, of Chicago; materia medica, Dr. T. L. Hazard, of Iowa City, Ia.; surgery, Dr. W. B. Van Lennep, of Philadelphia; ophthalmology, otology and laryngology, Dr. H. D. Schenck, of Brooklyn; sanitary science, Dr. J. W. Le Seuer, of Batavia, N. Y.; gynæcology, Dr. John J. Thompson, Chicago; pædology, Dr. A. M. Linn, of Des Moines, Ia.; obstetrics, Dr. T. G. Comstock, of St. Louis; neurology and electrotherapeutics, Dr. J. Richey Horner; interstate committee, William H. Hanchett, of Omaha, Neb.; press committee, William H. King; M. D., Washington, D. C.
The number of new members elected at Omaha was one hundred. The number of members in attendance was about three hundred.
Materia Medica Conference.—The conference died at Omaha, regretted by many, but wept for by few. Had the conference gone on steadily along the lines at first laid down,and had the same honest energy and wisdom been displayed in its conduction that were displayed in the various sections of the Institute, good and permanent work might have been done. As it was, in spite of neglect and mismanagement, it notably revived the flagging interest in our Materia Medica, presented many vital questions for discussion, and prepared the profession for harmonious effort in Materia Medica work. It has accomplished much more than the section in Materia Medica could possibly have hoped to do, and now that its labor has somewhat cleared the way we hope the Materia Medica section will take up the work the conference has so weakly abandoned.
Some Receptions at Omaha.-The entertainment of the Institute at Omaha was certainly most generous and constant. Among the notable events must be numbered the afternoon reception at Dr. W. H. Hanchett's, the evening reception at Mr. G. W. Lininger's, and the ball and reception at the Millard Hotel. All of these were especially enjoyable events. Few will ever forget the hospitable mansion of Dr. Hanchett and the pleasant hour on his lawn, while the splendid art gallery of Mr. Lininger and the beautifully illumined grounds, gave an evening of rare pleasure. The Millard ball was a great social success, and the crowded rooms testified to the popularity of the entertainment.
An Important Committee.-The sentiment in favor of shorter sessions of the Institute is undoubtedly strong, and rapidly growing stronger. In response to this feeling a committee was appointed at Omaha to consult with the executive committee and endeavor to arrange a plan for shorter meetings--say, of four days. It was
also decided to give this joint committee power to put its new plan in operation at Atlantic City next year. So it is possible at the next meeting a very different programme may be presented from that of the past few years.
A Successful Experiment. —The chairman of the section of clinical medicine, Dr. W. W. Van Baun, is entitled to much credit for the successful meeting of his section. There were no set papers in the ordinary sense of the term, but the topics were carefully selected, and the discussions were arranged for with equal care and solicitude. The success of this experimental section shows what may be done by work and energy and well-conceived plans.
Dr. Bailey's Paper.-The paper of Professor Bailey, read before the section in neurology, and which attracted much attention, will appear in the next number of THE NORTH AMERICAN.
The Allopaths at Denver.—The Allopaths had a fairly successful meeting at Denver. The attendance was larger than expected, and the various meetings attracted good-sized audiences. The old question of the differences existing between the New York State Medical Society and the A. M. A. came up, as it does every year, and the friends of “no code" very nearly won the fight. Perhaps one of the most important measures adopted was the passage
of a resolution that after a certain date all physicians who are members of the teaching staff of any medical school that does not conform to the requirements of the Association of American Medical Colleges will be barred from membership.
No Corsets in Russia.—Hereafter the women of Russia must do without corsets. The Russian minister of public instruction has issued a decree absolutely prohibiting the use of the corset, on the grounds of public health. This is an example of “paternalism” that Americans might, but never will, imitate.
THE FIRST HOMEOPATHIC ARMY SURGEOX.
Editor VORTH AMERICAN:
MY DEAR DR. PORTER-One of the proudest men in Camp Voorhees at Sea Girt, N. J., is Dr. Charles F. Adams, of Hackensack, V. J., who, for eight years, has been one of the assistant surgeons of the Second Regiment, X. G. V. J. Dr. Adams went to Sea Girt three weeks ago with his regiment, under the command of Colonel Edwin W. Hine. He was examined for two hours by the medical examining board, appointed conjointly by the Surgeon-General of the United States Army and the Governor of the