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Miscellany

1882 Boston Medical and Surgical Journal  
appeased by the Water Board's perennial habit of taking a few chemical analyses, aud by the natural disappearance of the plants. Another clear source of the dirty water observed in our bath-tubs lies in the fact that many of the water mains were laid before the practice of coating the insides with tar was in vogue, and that the roughnesses of the surfaces cause vegetable débris to collect and to be unevenly distributed. It needs no elaborate argument from us to prove that the public health is
more » ... public health is not sufficiently attended to in that city where only the rich can have pure water to drink, and where the temptation to the poor to drink bad rum is increased. Nor shall we endeavor to show that the public morality is low where important public trusts such as the management of water supplies are made subservient to politics. Beyond this question as applied to Boston, and partly in connection with it, comes the difficult problem o£ water and sewerage for the State, which can be properly treated only by general laws. Let us hope that such legislation will not be like that of the Butler-fearing Solons, who allowed the shoemakers of Natick, by special enactment, to bathe in Lake Cochituate rather than lose a few votes. If we are to become so extravagant in the use of water as to require one hundred gallons daily to each individual, there must be either separate supplies, as in every farm house, for drinking and for other purposes, or else water metres must be introduced, as has already beeu done in other cities. ---MEDICAL NOTES. -The burning of the Ring Theatre, at Vienna gave rise to many important medico-legal investigations respecting the sex and identity of charred corpses, of which Ed. llofmann and Schultzegive a description (Wiener Med. Blätter, 1881, No. 50, page 1538). In determining the sex in cases where the external genitals were completely destroyed, the chief point relied upon was the absence or presence of the uterus and ovaries. In ascertaining the approximate age, external appearances were quite unreliable. The union of the epiphysis with the diaphysis of the humérus, which first takes place at twenty-four years of age ; the ossification of the ribs, and more especially the ossification of the larynx, which generally begins between the thirtieth aud thirty-filth year, and is completed in the fortieth year, were found to be the best and most easily ascertained data. In women, the state of the ovaries was important ; these being smooth in girls and young women, cicatrized in older women. The hair of the head and beard was generally black, and had to be washed before its natural color could be ascertained. The cornea was generally milky aud turbid, as if boiled. Often the obsolescence of the cornea gave to the iris a deceptive blue appearance. The teeth, though calcined and crumbled, were, nevertheless, serviceable in determining the age. The nails, too, in some cases, served for identification. In a large num-her of cases the blood was of a florid color ; and this may have been due to the inhalation of carbonic oxide gas. -London Med. Record. -Martin P. Avery, who for some time past has been exhibited as a " living skeleton " at Bunnell's Museum on Broadway, died on the 16th of July. He was forty-six years of age, and was born in Chenango County, New York, where he was engaged in the grocery business until eight years ago, when his health failed him. He was a man of small stature, being little more than five feet high, and weighed only about one hundred and fifteen pounds when in good health. He complained of dyspeptic symptoms, and the small amount of food he could retain did not seem to be properly assimilated, so that he rapidly lost flesh, and being unable to attend to his usual avocations he finally set up as a " curiosity " in order to gain a livelihood. From the account of the medical man who was called in to attend him, it would seem not to have been a case of true progressive muscular atrophy, but rather of exhaustion from want of nourishment. There was no intestinal digestion whatever, and bis physician attributed this to failure of the pancreatic secretion or an entire obliteration of the thoracic duct, or both. No fatty matter was absorbed into the system, and the result was slow starvation. Unfortunately no autopsy was held in the case. -A valued contributor sends us the following transcription from a tombstone in the Charter Street somewhat delicate boy, nearly eleven years of age, received a wound in the hand from the explosion of a blank cartridge in a toy pistol, July 5th. The wound seemed insignificant, but after two or three days some swelling and pain occurred in it, aud poultices were applied for two or three days. Ou the sixth day the wound bled moderately but was not tender or painful. On the seventh day the boy complained of stiffness of the neck and jaws, which made it somewhat difficult for him to eat his dinner. These symptoms increased, and at seven p. M. I saw him for the first time ; no physician had attended the wound. The boy was found sitting in a noticeably erect position. He could bend his neck and back, but at once resumed the rigidly erect position. His jaws could be separated one inch. Liquids could be swallowed easily, but mastication was difficult. His pulse was 90 ; temperature normal.
doi:10.1056/nejm188208031070507 fatcat:yxcug3iumvdkhcoytib4jwjayu