THE FIRST YEAR OF THE SECTION ON GASTRO-ENTEROLOGY AND PROCTOLOGY

ANTHONY BASSLER
1918 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)  
The activities manifested at the first meeting of this section last year proved the wisdom of the House of Delegates in its establishment. Constantly spreading interest in it since that time is reason enough for its necessity and assures a progressive success. Although many of our gastro-enterologists and proctologists are now serving the country in efficient war work, the program, because of the rapidly increasing numbers of men interested in these fields, in quality and extent is but a small
more » ... ent is but a small part of what was easily possible. Throughout the breadth of our beloved country, general practitioners, internists, surgeons and others are keenly in search of knowledge on these subjects, and they feel that this is a forum of first importance in which to help them. The House of Delegates builded well and it seems a pleasure on the part of many Fellows of the Association to prove it. In doing this no outside organization did other than its full share collectively and individually, and as your chairman, it pleases me to state that the American and Southern Gastro-Enterologie Associations, the American Procto¬ logie Society and others have shown a most admirable spirit, a spirit of true fellowship of the highest fra¬ ternal type. You will remember that Dwight Murray in the chairman's address last year said : It seems to me that during our discussion of the symposiums much can be said which would be of great benefit to the mili¬ tary service and the life of the boys in the Army as to the care of their digestive and eliminati ve tracts. Advice along this line could come from no more competent body of medical men than are in this section of the American Medical· Associa¬ tion, and I believe it would be pertinent, notwithstanding the fact that we shall have many good physicians as officers of the Army, and without doubt it would be welcomed. Nothing could make for greater efficiency in our Army than the keeping of the gastro-enterocolonic tract in a normal condition. Possi¬ bly the offering of such advice at the present time may be too late, but I would recommend the appointment of a committee of five to formulate rules for the care of the gastro-intestinal tract. Such committee should deal especially with nutrition and elimination, and submit its report to the general committee of national defense, if it is found that the medical advisory board would welcome such advice. of Pittsburgh. After indefatigable labor and much expense and time, they succeeded in having the Army authorities recognize gastro-enterology and proctology, with the appointment of men in the cantonments and for oversea service. It must be to our credit that the responses to the requests that went out were prompt, and soon practically all of the posi¬ tions were filled with qualified men. Thus it is plain to all that the two greatest epochs in the history of gastro-enterology and proctology that history records anywhere in the world have been accomplished in little more than a year's time : first, the recognition of this field of work by the largest national medical organization of any country in the world in the establishment of a separate section for it, and second, a recognition by the Army authorities of the fact that men so trained would be valuable addi¬ tions to the Army medical staff in caring for the lads we are so proud of today. To the men who have had to do with bringing these two events about much credit is due. DUTY OF THE PHYSICIAN IN WAR In this moment of the nation's fight for right prin¬ ciple of free government, it would sadly behoove me to narrate on matters of medical topics. Beyond any¬ thing that these might be is the fact that we are at war with a country which seeks in medieval ways to fasten on the world the rule of "might makes right" by advanced methods of destruction and after years of preparation for it. Nothing that the human being holds dear-his work, his health and life, his loves and affections, his freedom, his spirtuality, his achieve¬ ments of the past, his country-nothing must be left him. The heart, soul and body of another counts for nothing against the sordid desire of this viciousness, and when this is brutally and ruthlessly carried out in antithesis of all laws, religions and ethics, there is nothing to do but to fight for the right, and we ennoble ourselves in doing so. God in his mercy will see us safely and securely through, but while we are passing through, the medical profession of America must do its share. At no time should we be the servants of the people and the country as liberally as at present. Our work in the war is tremendously important, and every one of us with real blood in his body must feel this. The country needs more medical men, and every Downloaded From: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/ by a Karolinska Institutet University Library User on 05/27/2015
doi:10.1001/jama.1918.02600370001001 fatcat:umjjf5owynbsrkavzscpei6rhi