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voted so much space to the elucidation of the phenomena, effects, &c., of this morbid condition. The manner in which depression may induce congestion, and thus mislead the practitioner into serious errors of practice, is thus explained :
“A depression in the action of the heart, without a corresponding depression in that of the extreme vessels, necessarily causes the blood to accumulate in the large venus trunks, and in the organs in their immediate vicinity. The heart cannot send forth the blood so rapidly as it passes from the extreme arteries into the venous ramifications, and thence into the larger vessels, in its return towards the centre of the circulation. Hence arises engorgement or congestion of the venæ cavæ, the liver, brain, &c., which is a frequent attendant of diseases of debility, and is sometimes viewed, though I believe erroneously, as the most prominent symptom, and that from which most danger is to be apprehended. Such diseases have, therefore, been named congestive diseases; and attention has been particularly directed to the treatment of the congestive condition of the organs, with the effect of calling it away from the real fountain of mischief, the enfeebled action, namely, of the heart. It is not here pretended to be denied, that engorgement of the internal organs does occasionally occur as an original affection, nor that, even when it proceeds from the cause alluded to, it may very properly be the subject of special treatment; but it is highly important, in the latter case that our therapeutical efforts should be directed mainly to the state of the the circulation, or of the general forces, in a failure of which the heart may participate, and that, in attempting to relieve what is nothing more than an effect, we should take care not to aggravate the cause.”
Among the lesions which may be referred to a direct loss of vital power on the tissues, Dr. Wood mentions softening and gangrene, both effects of the two opposite conditions of inflammation and depression.
The evidences adduced of the existence of these states without the intervention of inflammation or excessive action in the part affected, is to our minds perfectly clear, although we are aware that a certain class of physicians may be slow to admit it.
The distinction between softening and gangrene, two conditions which may readily be confounded, is thus pointed out.
In speaking of softening, the author remarks :
“ The result is most probably to be ascribed to a direct loss of vital power and action interfering with the healthy performance of the ordinary nutritive functions. In other words, it is a deranged and reduced nutrition of the part. That the softening does not proceed from the absolute loss of vitality, and the entrance of the part within the domain of chemical laws, is evinced by the absence of fetor, which always attends putrefaction. Softening, therefore, differs from gangrene, though in its extreme forms, it may end in the death of the part. It may arise from the absence of those constitutent particles or molecules upon which the hardness of particular structures depends, as in the case of rachitis, in which the earthy salts are not deposited in due proportion, or from a want of due firmness in all the particles, or of due vital cohesion between them.”
We would gladly direct the attention of our readers to other portions of the work of Dr. Wood, which appear to us to present important views of pathology and practice, not generally regarded or taught by medical authors or teachers—but our space forbids.
We can only express the belief that the careful reader will find in its pages abundant material for profitable reflection on the theory of medical science, while he will be introduced into a vast store house of facts, which have been judiciously collected and arranged by an author of enlarged experience, and of enlightened judgment.
Quarterly Summary of the Transactions of the College of Phy
sicians of Philadelphia. From November 1841, to August 1846, inclusive.
We have before us a work of 492 pages with the above title. We learn from it that the College of Physicians was chartered by the Legislature of Pennsylvania as long ago as 1788, and that among
its founders were the most eminent medical men of that period. We notice (with others of their contemporaries) the names of Redman, Shippen, Kuhn, Morgan, Rush, Griffitts, and Wistar. In the third section of the charter, its object is declared to be “ to assist and encourage said College in the prosecution and advancement of useful knowledge for the benefit of their country and mankind.” We have, however, no information of the doings of this honourable association, embracing within its circle the most eminent masters of the profession, for the last half century, except a small volume of transactions published in 1793, until we find in these latter days an agreement “to publish a bulletin of their transactions, after the example of other scientific bodies, who have adopted the practice with so much advantage to their own interests, and that of science generally.” If we rightly understand its position in the Commonwealth where it exists, this College occupies the highest rank; while it has had conferred on it no special privileges, and has received no Legislative endowment of authority or means, it has steadily pursued a dignified and honourable course, until it has earned for itself its present exalted standing; being acknowledged by the profession of Philadelphia as their regulator and arbiter in all matters connected with their professional intercourse, and the source to which the Governor of the state, and other civil authorities, look for counsel and direction on questions of public hygiene, or when threatened with visitations of alarming epidemic diseases.
Among those who are now active in perpetuating this venerable institution, we find the names of Hewson, Wood, Hodge, Meigs, Condie, Jackson, and many other able men. The Transactions of the College, contain the sentiments of the most acute and and judicious practitioners of Philadelphia, upon many medical topics of great interest; as well as the annual reports read before the institution, upon Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics, Diseases of Children, &c. The discussions upon puerperal fever, the management of the placenta after delivery, upon varioloid, re-vaccination, and many other practical subjects, are especially valuable and interesting. The work as now offered must be exceedingly useful to the country practitioner, who desires to refer to the opinions and experience of some of the most eminent physicians of Philadelphia upon questions of practice, about which he may have doubts or difficulties.
It may be had at Auner's, Marketstreet, near Ninth.
Hoblyn's Dictionary of Terms used in Medicine and the Col
lateral Sciences. Revised, with numerous additions, by Dr. Isaac Hays, of Philadelphia.
This is a work so concise and cheap that it ought to be in the library of every student and practitioner of medicine. It has passed through two London editions, and now appears for the first time in this country, under the revision of the able editor of the American Journal of the Medical Sciences. It is not a mere compilation of synonyms, nor is it so voluminous as to oblige the reader to search through pages of hypotheses in order
come at the definition of a medical term. Dr. Hays has adapted it to the “ wants of the American practitioner,” and this fact alone is sufficient to insure for it an extensive circulation. It is published by Lca & Blanchard, of Philadelphia.
A System of Surgery. By J. M. CHELius, Doctor of Medicine
and Surgery. Public Professor of General and Opthalmic Surgery. Director of the Chirurgical and Opthalmic Clinic in the University of Heidelberg, &c., &c., &c. Translated from the German, by John F. South, late Professor of Surgery to the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and one of the Surgeons to St. Thomas's Hospital. In three volumes. Philada., Lea & Blanchard. 1847.
The first American edition of this valuable work has just been issued from the press. It is in three large octavo volumes, comprising in all 2107 pages. It has been translated into seven languages; has passed through six editions in Germany, and has long been recognized as the surgical text book of the principal medical schools of that country. It contains a copious analytical index, which adds much to its value as a book of reference for the practitioner, while it is made available to the student by its convenient and systematic arrangement. The translator's notes are very ample, and he exhibits much industry and research in his efforts to impress upon the reader the difference between the surgical practice of the German and English schools, and the grounds of his own choice between them; while the surgical literature of our own country, is represented in the notes of the American editor, Dr. G. W. Norris, one of the Surgeons of Pennsylvania Hospital. The book is a pretty fair compendium of the different modes of treating surgical diseases in the institutions of Germany, England, France and America, and may be considered as the most complete and ample work on surgery extant.