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Dr. Walter B. Johnson, of Paterson, N. J., writing on the subject of ophthalmia neonatorum, says the law enacted in New Jersey to prevent the spread of this disease is practically inoperative, and expresses his belief that the only way to secure its enforcement is to amend the law by having this disease placed on the list of contagious diseases, compelling all who have knowledge of the existence of a case to report it to the health authorities. In New York City the health authorities can compel this without further enactment.
I believe the enforcement of all laws relating to the public health should be entrusted to the Health Board, and the function of the medical profession should be to advise the Health Board and to insist on the enforcement of laws designed to protect the public health. The medical profession can mould public opinion, and when the profession does not agitate needed reforms in matters relating to the preservation of the public health it fails in its duty and deserves all the reproach and contumely the community may be pleased to heap upon it.
The Health Board and the medical profession should walk hand in hand for the protection of the public health, and for this purpose we need a thoroughly organized and united Health Board, which, in this city at least, we now have, and a thoroughly organized and united medical profession, which unfortunately we do not have.
I do not at present see the necessity of any new laws for the protection of the public health, believing those we now have are sufficient for the purposes of to-day. I do recommend a closer union and a clearer understanding between the medical profession and the city, county and State authorities, in order that we may accomplish what should be the great object of our profession—the safeguarding of the community against disease and the avarice and dishonesty of those who prey upon the ignorance and superstition of a confiding people.
This can only be brought about by the entire profession uniting in one strong central body, which shall be the recognized mouthpiece of the profession. Such a body acting in concert with the health authorities could easily bring about all the needed legislation for the proper protection of the public health.
FOOD-ADULTERATIONS. This was the subject of an interesting address given by Hon. John Hamilton, Secretary of Agriculture of Pennsylvania (“Medical News" Abstract, Pennsylvania Medical Society Proceedings, September 27, 1902), who stated that food-adulteration had really begun and proceeded hand in hand with civilization, Enough statistics were given to show the actual state of this deception in Pennsylvania. During the two and a half years ending July 1, 1902, under the auspices of the Dairy and Food Department 3,023 samples of butter were analyzed, only 103 of them being on the market as oleomargarin, and only 61 as butterin. Of these samples 1,019 were found to be butter, 164 renovated butter, and 1,840 oleomargarin. During the same period 1,369 articles of food, including nearly every solid and liquid form, were analyzed, and 783 of them found to be adulterated. More work in this line has been done in Pennsylvania than in any other three States. Four persons are responsible for the control of the food-supply—the manufacturer, the jobber, the retailer and the cook (or the cook's employer). The kitchen causes much disease. Secretary Hamilton believes that the company kitchens, or rather the sinks, are responsible for much of the sickness in soldiers' camps. He would abolish these kitchens, have men mess in fours, use no dishes, eat with a combination knife, fork and spoon out of the vessel in which the food is cooked, and disinfect this vessel by turning it bottom side up over the fire after each using. Physicians must reform kitchen affairs. The furnishing of pure food depends on two agencies—the law and the work of practicing physicians. It was stated that many cases brought to court had been lost by the department because of the conflicting testimony of physicians. Some would testify that certain substances were injurious to health. Others would give an opposite opinion. And the jury every time would believe the latter. The great responsibility of the State Medical Society in this matter was pointed out, and its earnest co-operation solicited.
ANESTHETICS IN DENTISTRY.
In a brochure on “Local Anesthesia and its Application in Dentistry” (Leipsic, Arthur Felix, 1902), Dr. Herman Thiesing, Royal Court Dentist, discusses the twelve anesthetics which have been used in stomatology. He finds that acoin, cocain, AlphaEucain, holocain, orthoform and orthoform-new are less suited because of their greater toxicity; nirvanin, anesin, etc., because of insufficient anesthetic action and other disadvantages; and that Beta-Eucain should be employed. Dr. Thiesing has also used Wilson's anesthetic, but has entirely ceased to employ it, having become convinced that better results are obtained with a one per cent. Beta-Eucain solution; moreover, Wilson's anesthetic is fifteen times as expensive as such a solution.
Beta-Eucain possesses greater anesthetic power than tropacocain, while the duration and intensity of the anesthesia, and the area affected by it, are equal to that of cocain. Besides being three and three-fourths less toxic than cocain, Beta-Eucain possesses the important advantage that its solutions can be sterilized with boiling. The author has never observed ædemas or subsequent pains from the use of boiled Beta-Eucain solutions, though sometimes, just as with tropacocain, bleedings followed its employment, which, however, have always stopped promptly without aid.
Insensibility of the mucous membrane may be easily produced by the external application of a Beta-Eucain solution. The injection of a one per cent. solution (to which eight-tenths of one per cent. sodium chloride have been added) at body temperature is absolutely painless and effects a thorough anesthesia lasting twenty-five to thirty minutes.
From his investigations Dr. Theising draws the conclusion that in dentistry only Beta-Eucain and tropacocain may be considered, and occasionally, if very dilute solutions are to be used, or for application to the unbroken skin, also acoin and cocain.
He himself prefers Beta-Eucain, because it is less toxic than tropacocain and has considerably more anesthetic power. According to the investigations made by various physicians, a one per cent. Beta-Eucain solution produces about the same effect as a four per cent. tropacocain solution. The possibility of intoxication is therefore much greater with tropacocain.
Dr. Theising considers it advisable to employ Beta-Eucain solutions of four different strengths for various purposes. He indicates two to five per cent. Beta-Eucain solutions for opening abscesses; excising small tumors; extracting loosened (not inflamed) teeth and roots (deciduous teeth) and the four lower incisors; and anesthesizing the nerv. alveolar infer. on the lingula and on the foramen mentale;
One per cent. Beta-Eucain solutions for extracting the upper incisors, bicuspids and molars; straightening teeth by operation; drilling the alveola; and removing necrotic root apexes;
Two per cent. Beta-Eucain solutions for extracting the lower molars and bicuspids and the four canines; excavating sensitive dentines; and extracting the pulp; and
Three per cent. Beta-Eucain solutions for extracting all teeth and roots in acute periodontitis.
A NEW DEMAND FOR ALCOHOL. A new demand for alcohol is becoming prominent in Germany. Last year thirty-one million gallons were used for technical purposes and for fuel. For motor wagons and engines of various kinds alcohol has been found a cheap and excellent fuel. It is largely made from beet roots, and is exempt from duty, and is sold at from twelve to fourteen cents a gallon, competing with all forms of motive energy in engines of less than twenty horse power. For motor wagons and light-running machines and small railroads it is cheaper and more practical than coal. Lamps on the plan of the Welsbach with a mantle give out a more brilliant light, and are more economical than petroleum. There is every reason to believe that alcohol will be used as a fuel, and occupy a very prominent place. The evolution of alcohol from a beverage to a fuel is not more startling than other changes seen every day.“Journal of Inebriety.”
ENGLAND'S OLD PERSONS. A contemporary published a portrait of an old gentleman whom they termed “The King's oldest subject,” aged 107. But what about old Mrs. Hanbury of Richmond, aged 108?
Then there is that gracious dame in the Channel Islands, Mrs. Neve, who was born before Marie Antoinette bowed her graceful head beneath the guillotine and who was a laughing little baby when Charlotte Corday was as yet an innocent, happy country girl.
Mrs. Neve is already 110. And what is to be done with the old lady in Yarmouth Workhouse, 112; and the old laborer near Donaghadee, 118?_"London Express."
UNQUALIFIED PRACTICE, though so rampant, occasionally leads to serious consequences. A man named Herring took a house and put up a plate calling himself Hoffmeister, M. D. and M. S. An inquest had to be held on a woman he had given drugs to, but who had strangulated hernia. Herring swore he was qualified, but later was prosecuted for perjury and for gross criminal negligence. The evidence was that the prisoner was formerly a clerk, left his employment under unfavorable circumstances, and for years led a life of gross imposture. A verdict of manslaughter was returned, and the judge said “he could not imagine anything more dangerous than that an impostor should take on himself, for the sake of money, the care of the sick and subject them to his mismanagement. As a deterrent to others he must pass a severe sentence, which was that the prisoner be kept in penal servitude for five years.” The indictment for perjury was thereupon dropped. The judge's decision in this case is one of the greatest importance to the profession and will be a wholesome warning to quacks.London Letter, “Medical Record,” November 22, 1902.
AS HE ORDERED.
"London Tid-Bits" tells a story of an anxious mother who brought her daughter to see a famous London physician. The girl was suffering from what some people call “general lowness.” There was nothing much the matter with her, but she was pale and listless, and did not care about doing anything, even eating.
The doctor, after due consultation, prescribed for her a glass of claret three times a day with her meals. The mother was somewhat deaf, but apparently heard all he said, and bore off her daughter, determined to carry out the prescription to the letter.
In two weeks she was back with the girl, rosy-cheeked, smiling and the picture of health.
The doctor naturally congratulated himself on his skill, and said, cordially: "I am glad to see your daughter is so much better.”
"Thanks to you, doctor!" exclaimed the grateful mother. “She has had just what you ordered. She has eaten carrots three times a day, and sometimes oftener--and once or twice she had them uncooked; and now look at her!"
Another instance of the truth of the old saying, “God heals and the doctor takes the fees.”