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THE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
STATE OF ALABAMA
THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF 1918
FIRST DAY, TUESDAY, APRIL 16.
The Forty-fifth consecutive annual meeting, which makes the fifty-first annual meeting of the Medical Association of Alabama convened in the Hotel Tutwiler, at Birmingham, at 11:00 A. M., April 16, 1918, the President, Dr. W. D. Partlow, of Tuscaloosa, in the chair.
The President: Gentlemen, I hereby declare the forty-fifth consecutive annual session of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama now open for the transaction of such business as may come before it. The Rev. G. H. Williams, Rector of the Episcopal Church of Woodlawn, Alabama, will lead us
Invocation by Rev. G. H. Williams.
The President: Dr. W. G. Harrison, the President of the Jefferson County Medical Society, will now formally welcome the Association on behalf of that body.
ADDRESS OF WELCOME. Dr. Harrison:
Mr. President, Gentlemen: It gives me a great deal of pleasure to bring to you the greetings and hearty welcome of Birmingham. There are a good many reasons for stressing it just at this time. You are just as welcome in Birmingham as anybody could be in a dry town (laughter).
Last November three members of the county society came to me and said, "Harrison, next year we are going to have the Alabama State Medical Association and we want to make you President if you will promise not to make a damn fool speech, but I did not promise, so I am still safe. (Applause.) I'm a good deal in the state of the negro who came up before the exemption board and was asked if there was any reason why he should not go to war. He stammered and stuttered and said, “Yassir.” “Have you anybody to take care of?” “No sir.' “Have you anybody that you have to feed?” “No sir." "Is anybody dependent on you for their clothes?” “No sir.” “Then what is the reason?” “Well, sir, when I see a lot of white men together I always git scared!" (Laughter.) For that reason I won't promise not to make that fool speech.
The conditions are different today from any meeting we have ever had. We had hoped to have a large meeting but we won't be disappointed if the number is very small. When our country went into the conflict Surgeon General Gorgas—thank God he is at the head, that man of great poise and wisdomwhen Doctor Gorgas undertook the organization of the medical forces the State of Alabama furnished something like four hundred, and of those Jefferson county supplied ninety. They are doing good work, we are proud of them, and I am sorry we can't have more of them here.
Now comes the question, what are we going to do? At this time all roads lead to Rome—what are we going to do? The fellows at the front are doing their part well—what about us? Dr. Crile has recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association a splendid little article indicating the attitude of the doctors who have gone into the army. “The medical man is earnest, he is honest; the medical man is first in the field; the medical man was the first to be wounded and the medical man was the first to be killed. The medical corps was the first to make up the full quota, the medical corps is the largest of all reserves, and the medical corps today is the most completely organized of all the Army." I feel that that is something of which we can all boast. (Applause.) Those fellows are going to do their duty-what are we going to do?
Medical men never can do anything spectacular. At the time of the Liberty Loan parade the other day when I saw those service flags passing, and the banners flying and heard the bands and all the "to do” of the parade, I felt sorry not to see a single doctor,-I felt they were not doing their part; they
were not represented there as a profession. Just about the time the parade was over I went down to another office to call on a friend of mine and the doctor down there was busy treating an enlisted soldier. I didn't butt in but went to call on another doctor in another office; up there I found the doctor vaccinating a child and when he had finished I said, “Whose child is that?" and he replied, "I don't know, some little chap whose father is in the Army." (Applause.) After all, if we can't do spectacular things we can buy bonds and subscribe to the Red Cross and the Y. M. C. A., and tell the people that it is not corn bread that produces pellagra and thost things, and after all our best service will be rendered to the families of those who have gone. Enough doctors have gone to make it rather hard to look after all the poor people who have been left behind and it is our opportunity, and medical men won't fall short. (Applause.)
There is one thing I would like to mention and that is that when those fellows come home we must not forget our own standard of ethics. When they come back tired and worn we must see to it that the people who employed them before are going to employ them again. (Applause.) It is our duty to do this, to say, "He has been gone a long time but he has had a vast experience and is a better doctor today than he was before.” (Applause.)
I don't know how the war is going to end. It is going on and there are going to be a lot of changes as a result of it. When they get through they are going to feel like the old maid who went through a tunnel. She had never been through a tunnel before and it was awfully dark and she was alone in a corner with a man. He had not seen her very well and somebody kissed her as they went through the tunnel. She was rather embarrassed when they got out, when somebody said, “This tunnel cost a million dollars,” she said, “Well, it's worth it!" (Laughter.) There will be radical changes after this war; it will not be good form to murder women and children. It will not be good form to tear up precious treaties and call them scraps of paper. The word Schrecklicheit will no longer be a part of our language-thank God! My friends, we are glad to see you in Birmingham and hope you will have a good time. (Applause.)