LIBRARY TABLE

1905 The Lancet  
Children, Sydney. With 10 plates and 134 drawings. London: Baillière, Tindall, and Cox. 1905. Royal 8vo, pp. 672. Price 15s. net. To every surgeon the preparation and after-treatment of his abdominal cases must be a matter of the utmost importance, but whether the subject is so important as to warrant a volume of 672 pages being written about it may well be questioned. We cannot but admire the painstaking care with which Dr. McKay has compiled this book and it undoubtedly contains a great deal
more » ... f most valuable information. The author, as he truly says in his preface, has set down anything and everything that will be a help to the young surgeon. The result is, as he himself admits, that the work has assumed undue proportions, yet there is but little we would wish to see omitted. Acting on the advice of the late Mr. Lawson Tait the author made himself acquainted with the work done in many of the clinics on the continent and he has embodied the knowledge thus gained in his work. The first 19 chapters are devoted to an account of the preparation of the patient, the sterilisation of instruments and dressings, the furnishing of theatres, and other details of antisepsis and asepsis. The next ten chapters are concerned with the after-treatment of the patients and the conclusions to be drawn from observations on the pulse, temperature, tongue, and so on, while the rest of the work deals with the various complications which may follow an abdominal section and their treatment. In the chapter in which the fitting out of an operating room is considered stress is laid on the many advantages of moveable wash-hand basins over fixed ones. This is really an important point and even at the present time modern theatres are fitted with fixed hand basins which are almost impossible to clean and which can never be sterilised. The different methods of sterilising catgut are described at considerable length. The author acknowledges that he has lost a case from the use of this material and yet he appears still to employ it. For our own part we do not think that its advantages counterbalance the great difficulties experienced in completely sterilising it. Dr. McKay uses gauze sponges but he does not mention the very useful and safe method of using sterilised gauze as sponges in rolls sufficiently long to prevent their being lost in the abdominal cavity. Many operators now always use these in abdominal surgery. For disinfection of the hands the author recommends Lockwood's method of employing a solution of biniodide of mercury in spirit. He is strongly in favour of rubber gloves. The part of the book which we consider most valuable is that dealing with the after-complications of abdominal sections. Dr. McKay has made a point of very carefully watching his cases and his descriptions of the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of those dreaded sequelæ severe shock, hæmorrhage, septic infection, and peritonitis are particularly good. Other chapters, too, which bear evidence of the author's accurate powers of clinical observation are those on the tongue, the pulse, the temperature, and the respiration. Dr. McKay has come to the conclusion that the only purgatives of any value in the treatment of cases of abdominal section are calomel, elaterium (best combined with the calomel), sulphate of magnesium, croton oil, and castor oil. He suggests the fact that calomel so often fails to act by itself is due to the great care with which it is manufactured at the present day. When the cheaper varieties containing some sublimate are employed it acts much more effectually. Schmiederberg, further, has pointed out that calomel acts chiefly on the intestinal ganglia and these are often partially paralysed and difficult to stimulate, especially in cases of shock or peritonitis. Dr. McKay finds that a combination of three grains of calomel and two grains of pulvis elaterini compositus acts most efficiently. In the treatment of the wound after removal of the stitches the mortise and tenon method of applying strips of plaster is described but nothing is said of the much better and more efficient plan of applying a manytailed binder of strapping completely round the abdomen. In discussing ileus and pseudo-ileus the author states that he believes, in contradistinction to Treves and others, that if even a small annular section of the bowel loses its contractility it is capable of acting as a complete obstruction to the passage of its contents and so an ileus or a pseudo-ileus may be produced. He maintains that since true peristaltic contraction is a coordinated reflex carried out by the local nerve centres in the wall of the gut, the paralysis of a segment of the gut will prevent that augmentation of contraction above and inhibition of contraction below any point which are necessary before any object in the bowel can be moved on. Some of the most interesting of the remaining chapters are those on peritonitis and its treatment, post-operative adhesions and intestinal obstruction, foreign bodies left in the peritoneal cavity, and post-operative hernia. The book is one which we can recommend strongly to every surgeon as even the most experienced will not fail to learn something from its perusal. LIBRARY TABLE. The Limited. 1905. Pp. 214. Price 2s.-This is a new edition of a well-known little book, the first edition of which was published in 1863, and it will be found extremely useful to all beginners in microscopy and for general work with the microscope. It is stated in the preface that additions have been made in order to extend I the usefulness of the book to a new class of readers-the medical student and the junior medical practitioner. To this end, besides other matter, a brief prefatory chapter has been added embracing the elements of preliminary histological manipulation." The references to blood and method of staining, for example, are, however, too brief for the purposes of the present-day medical student, while the biologist and the histologist will naturally refer to larger works. On the other hand, the book contains almost everything which the general, as distinct from the particular, student of microscopy may desire to know, and several useful suggestions are given for the improvising and making of home-made accessories. Thereare a good index and a few illustrations. So much excellent matter is provided at a low price that it is, perhaps, ungrateful to ask for more, but the addition of a chapter on the microscope itself would have made the book of still greater practical value. Handbook of Travel-talk : Being a Collection oJ Questions, Phrases, and Vocabularies in English, French, German, and Italian. Nineteenth edition. London: Edward Stanford 1905. Pp. 688. Price 3s. 6d.-This small volume is intended as a pocket companion for ready reference and in apology to scholars the preface says at the outset that " even, a scholar, who is able to read foreign works with tolerable facility, may find himself at a loss when he comes to attempt, the colloquial phraseology of the roadside or the terms belonging to any particular art, science, or profession." The truth of this remark is well known to any of us who, with an academical knowledge of the language, have.
doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(01)21461-5 fatcat:objtcw6kkrdjxnbzr7dia3bzcq