Editorials and Medical Intelligence

1851 Boston Medical and Surgical Journal  
February 20, 1851, I was called at 7 o'clock, A. M., to visit a child, 5 years old, the daughter of J. W. H., in the town of Newbern, Pulaski County, Virginia. According to the account given by her parents, she had been a little unwell for two or three days ; but on the day previous to my visit, she was suddenly taken with pain in the abdomen and vomiting. As her habit was known to be costive, her parents gave an enema of castor oil and warm water, as well as oil by the mouth. They also applied
more » ... . They also applied fomentations to the abdomen, and gave a large quantity of laudanum (according to their statement about 5 ij. in twenty hours), without relief. At the time she was examined by me, I found her laboring under the symptoms of colic, pain in the region of the stomach and bowels, the muscles of the abdomen drawn up into ridges or knots, with some tenderness upon pressure about the umbilicus, constant inclination to lean forward and lie upon the face, tossing to and fro, retching and vomiting every few minutes, throwing up a frothy mucus, mixed with a little bile ; the tongue coated with a yellowish fur ; there was also some fever, the pulse being full and frequent, though compressible. , I gave her calomel, grs. iv. ; Dover's powder, grs. ij. •; to be followed in four hours by castor oil, and applied sinapisms and fomentations to the abdomen. The oil was taken, but afterwards thrown up from the stomach. I again visited her at 2 o'clock, P. M., and gave calomel, grs. ij. ; Dover's powder, gr. j. ; after which she slept about four hours, at which time-she was aroused for the purpose of giving an enema composed of warm water, castor oil, and spirits of turpentine. She now complained of a choking, whereupon about ten drops of spirits of turpentine were given by the mouth. Some time elapsed, and she had a small passage, in which were five or six lumbricoides ; after the lapse of an hour she had a second passage, in which were four or five worms of the same kind. She then slept about two hours, when she awoke and had the third passage, which brought one hundred and fourteen worms (lumbricoides), making in all one hundred and twenty. 1 understood from her father to-day (February 25th) that she had had another passage on the evening of the 21st hist., in which were sixteen worms of the same kind, making in all one hundred and forty. The novelty of this case does not consist so much in the symptoms or treatment, as in the number of worms discharged.-The Stethoscope. looking island that formerly possessed one of the seven wonders of the world, the Colossus, which was both a statue and a lighthouse, 15Ü feet high. History abounds with curious and extraordinary accounts of the ancient power, grandeur, wealth and refinement of Rhodes. It is 36 miles long, by IS broad, abounding in wood, with a soil that would produce abundantly, were the least effort made on the surface; but such is the policy of the Turkish government, that poverty broods over the forest of pillared ruins which are spread out in every direction, and desolation is indicated as far as the eye can extend, from its principal port into the interior. Rhodes was densely peopled before the Trojan war, and while Homer was living contained three great cities. The city of Rhodes, at the period of its meridian glory, is represented to have been nine miles in circumference, and appears to have been a little west of the present town, on the margin of the island. At the present moment, there are but about 30,000 inhabitants on the whole territory-three fourths of whom reside within the city walls and immediate neighborhood. A -high, strong wall, with several stately edifices, were the creation of the Knights of Malta, who were driven from their strong hold by the Turks, in 1522, under Suleiman the Magnificent. There is neither trade, manufactures, nor agriculture-and how the inhabitants subsist, is quite a mystery. There are 40 villages throughout the whole island, but the people neither plant nor reap, and their degradation surpasses belief. Such is the imagined holiness and purity of the Mussultnen, that neither Jew, Greek, Christian, nor any one not professing Mahommedan tenets, are permitted to remain within the town at the hour of closing the evening gates. For some years past, the Greek shipwrights have infused considerable activity into the place, by having, not unfrequently, 18 vessels on the stocks at a time ; and while the benefits arising from the employment of hundreds was felt to be of importance to the whole community, the government gained a regular income. With a view to grasping more, the blighting policy of this abominable system of government, it sent forth an order, a short while since, that no vessel should hereafter be launched unless the owners obligated themselves to sail it under the Turkish flag. This was a condition that no one would comply with, and the business of Rhodes, therefore, has dwindled down to nothing, and the government now is without a particle of revenue from the island. A new plan is in agitation, to make it a general quarantine station. There is not a road on the island, and even fire wood cannot be brought to the town ; not a cow or sheep is pastured, and on my arrival the British consul said that there had been no meat to be had for four days, on account of a high wind that interrupted all intercourse with the opposite shore, at the foot of the Cararnanian mountains. The earthquake of Feb. 2Sth, more disastrous than had occurred for many years, made terrible work with the city. St. John's Tower, a vast stone structure within the wall, facing the harbor, was rent from top to bottom. After standing more than four centuries, a surprising monument of the skill, thoroughness and mechanical ingenuity of the knights, it will now have to be taken down, or it will fall into the basin of the large harbor, and utterly destroy what remains of an anchorage at that point. The grandmaster's palace is equally shattered, and the eastern gate is crushed at the top of the arch. This frightful catastrophe has given a finishing air to Rhodes. Sixty miles to the east, a mountain opened, into a rent of which a village with its 200 inhabitants fell, and the mighty precipices came together again. I had but an imperfect view of Patmos, where the book of Revelation was written ; but Samos, Cos, and many other islands, renowned in the revolutions to which this entire region of country has been incident from immemorial time, were examined with unusual emotions. Smyrna.-For five days, I have been incarcerated in a vile hole, called the quarantine ground, vvith Arabs, Turks, Armenians, Jews, Christians, infidels, and rascals of all kinds. The costumes are as various as the characters and dispositions of the wearers. Some are in Albanian petticoats. Think of a hale six-footer, in a red cap, mustaches two inches long, white stockings, and a petticoat of white cotton reaching to his knees, containing ten yards of material ! Each one has to pay room rent, and the hire of a dirty fellow to watch him while be remains. I pay a man in the city two dollars a day for two meals and a kind of bed for the night. There is neither hospital, inspection of any kind, or even conveniences for having a handkerchief washed. On arriving in port, away goes everything into the quarantine. If the individual has food of his own, he is at liberty to consume it; if money, he may order food from a hotel; or, having neither, he may starve to death, and be buried, without exciting either sympathy or inquiry. On the day before pratique is given, a doctor pops his head into the apartments, without knowing or caring a whit about a soul in the establishment, and, if the fees are paid, pronounces each one who pays the money down free from the plague. All the quarantine detentions in Syria, Egypt, Turkey and Greece, are contrivances of Italians, who make use of them for their own personal benefit. A simultaneous effort by the European governments, representing the facts as they are, would instantly sweep away the whole of these shameful obstructions to maritime intercourse ; but unfortunately, the English, both at Malta and Corfu, are playing precisely the same iniquitous game, with precisely the same object-revenue ; consequently not a word is said, and the Italian leeches are sucking the pockets dry of all who unfortunately fall within their official clutches. Here, in Smyrna, was one of the seven churches-not a stone of which can be recognized, though the site is fully established. Within the fortress, lying at the top of a hill, back of the town, now in ruins, Polycarp, a successor of the apostles, was martyred. Sardis, Philadelphia, Ephesus, &c, where other churches referred to in the New Testament were located, are within a circle of two days' ride, on horseback. The monument of Sesostris, an Egyptian king, who subdued this country, and having died on a conquering expedition, was buried in an obscure spot, about 28 miles distant, was not long ago discovered-and proves Herodotus to have been an accurate, reliable historian. It is in relief, the size of life, on the face of a rock, and was executed thirteen hundred years before the commencement of the Christian era. In no Turkish city have the bazars presented a neater appearance, a greater variety, or an indication of equal thrift. Italians seem to be in every thing and every where in Smyrna. The burying In short, after peeping at and into various things that were novelties, and some that were not, we came to the conclusion that Smyrna is rapidly approaching civilization. Even now, about as many hats are worn as red caps ! The Jews have eleven synagogues-but a hundred are needed, if such would better their morals. Greeks are too often cheats, every one admits ; and the Turks, though much more honest than any from the world of barbarians who have taken up their residence either here or in other parts of the empire, are not unmindful of their own interest. Five days ago, a great Persian caravan arrived, laden with rugs, carpels, shawls, silks, and beautiful stuffs, which appears to have caused considerable excitement. Three limes a year comes an army of camels, which gives an impetus to trade. I went down to the encampment of one lately arrived, to see the show. The animals were far superior to any in Syria or Egypt. Their saddles, too, were excellent, and well fitted to the humps, which is not often the case with those in common use on the desert, where it would seem they ought to be the best. One improvement in the face-covering of the Turkish females was noticed, that does not interfere so constantly with respiration, as the thick veils, corners of a sheet, and such like coverings, that the same class usually wear in other towns and cities further south. A black piece of gauze appears to be stiffened with starch, and stretched over a semicircular piece of wire, which by its weight stretches the veil down as far as the tip of the nose, and thus they wander through the narrow streets, half the face, a little way oil', appearing black. They shuffle along in yellow boots, stuck loosely into a pair of slippers-followed by their perpetual janus, a coal black eunuch ; or if two or three ladies are together, a female slave or two answers all the purpose of servants and watchers. Smyrna is now in the enjoyment of a full measure of public health. The diseases present nothing remarkable in their character. The city is an old one, and intimately associated with extraordinary historical events, notwithstanding the common idea that it is simply a place for shipping figs. A population of 15,000, together with the strangers always here, make considerable bustle, in spite of the smoking apathy of the Turks. Every shop-keeper sits flat on his floor-all bis food and chattels being within arm's length. Wholesale dealers squat in a spot scarcely larger than a pew of a modern church, in their stocking feet, forever smoking. Whenever a customer wishes to examine a particular specimen of their fabrics or wares, another smoking drone puts on his slippers deliberately, walks off to the magazine, and in his own snail-like manner returns with what is called for. No anxiety for a trade is manifested in a Turk's countenance. One of the extraordinary things that astonishes a stranger here, is the immense burdens laboring men carry on their backs. They have a kind of saddle, suspended from the shoulders, on which the packages are laid, and stooping forward they inarch off with the orderly pace of a camel. I met one with a barrel of new rum on his back, lettered Boston manufacture. wer, we have not quite so much confidence in him as we have in the other writers, from the fact that his object is apparently the recommendation of a certain water-cure establishment at Malvern, kept by one Dr. James Wilson, a disciple of the immortal Priessnitz. Dr. John Forbes's chapter, " a Review of Hydropathy," is certainly written with much candor, and in a spirit which entitles it to our respect. It should be carefully read by every medical man. The " two chapters on bathing and the water treatment," by Dr. Erasmus Wilson, are scientifically and ingeniously prepared, and will, perhaps, change the minds of some in favor of the system of bathing in disease as well as in health. The paper by Sir Charles Scudamore, M.D., " a Medical Investigation of the Water-cure Treatment," is written with that spirit which is ever best calculated to disarm prejudice, and to secure respect for the opinions advanced. Sir Charles's sentiments respecting ignorant men undertaking to practise hydropathy, perfectly agree with our own. We give the following extract. He says-" I much fear that, from the facility and apparent simplicity of the practice, and the temptation to pecuniary gain, persons without the qualification of medical education will be induced, not only to form water establishments, but to conduct them altogether, and boldly undertake the responsibility of the public health. In no illiberal spirit, but from honest feelings, I protest against this monstrous pretension and error. Diagnosisis most essential. Who that is untaught and inexperienced, can understand the different kinds, and the many phases of disease ! And without such discrimination, and also judicious estimate of the powers of the individual to bear treatment, how can its amount be properly prescribed ?" The cliapter on " The Cold-water Cure ; its Use and Misuse," by Herbert Mayo, M.D., is written in a style that might be expected from one of such high attainments. Dr. Mayo was suffering from a severe attack of rheumatism or gout, and in despair of ever getting cured from the usual remedies, took to the cold waters of Marienberg, on the banks of the Rhine, and there placed himself under the care of a Dr. Schmitz. Although he was not cured of his maladies, he nevertheless experienced much improvement by the proper treatment with cold water. The last chapter in this book is written by the editor, Dr. Houghton, who gives his observations on water cure, and sums up the evidence of the distinguished writers already mentioned. While we have the most perfect respect for the opinions of such learned men, we must beg to differ from them relative to the universal use of water as a therapeutical agent. We have always contended that water, in its proper application, might be used in disease,
doi:10.1056/nejm185105140441506 fatcat:ndt6mo657rgndmv7xhpszejtdq