THE VISITATION OF THE SICK.1

1912 The Lancet  
382 the individual, but the comparative weight of that indi-3 vidual at different periods. In the furtherance of this view 24 cases have been carefully studied, and the testimony points almost conclusively one way-viz., that the incipient stage of cancer of the uterus is coincident with the maximum weight of the woman irrespective of age, and that the duration of this incipient stage may vary as does that of the recognised stage of the disease. It is not maintained that the existence of the
more » ... xistence of the maximum weight is alone sufficient to determine the presence of uterine cancer, but associated with the history of maximum weight will be found one of unexcelled health and strength. A further point insisted on is that this maximum weight, health, and strength have been attained rapidly subsequent to previous imperfect health conditions. A chart is given of what Dr. Atlee believes to be the probable characteristic phenomenon in the progress of cancer cases covering a period of 12 years or more. In this chart a period of poor or indifferent health is represented as followed by a period of rapid return to perfect health and strength, with maximum weight, and then the occurrence of suspected and recognised cancer. Curves are also given for uterine diseases other than cancer, and for cancerous diseases in women other than in the uterus, and in both these conditions the curve is represented as being one mainly of a continued period of impaired health. Lastly, a table is given to show that the maximum weight of healthy women generally occurs at an age other than that at which the greatest incidence of cancer of the uterus occurs. Dr. Atlee is appealing to physicians to fill up tables of questions in order to extend his researches so as to obtain a larger series of cases. The idea is a novel one, and, of course, a very much larger amount of material is necessary than the 24 cases on which the author appears to rest his hypothesis. And we are not told how the curves have been constructed ; they appear merely to represent the author's impressions. It seems to us unlikely that further investigations will corroborate the suggestion put forward by Dr. Atlee. THE VISITATION OF THE SICK.1 IN mediaeval times the sick man, with the sense of humour which characterised mediasval religion, added some private devotions of his own to the official services for the sick prescribed by the Church. That is to say, before he took his medicines he was accustomed to repeat Psalms LV. and LVIII. in the Vulgate, which correspond to LVI. and LIX. in our Book of Common Prayer. In the former of these psalms the patient declares that he will not fear what flesh can do i unto him, and in the second he prays to be delivered from the bloodthirsty men, "de viris sanguinum salva me." Whether these aspirations were used by the patient in regard to his parish priest or his doctor, or merely symbolically in reference to the powers of evil who were then credited with bringing sickness, cannot now be definitely stated, but it seems that the mediaeval patient had qualms as to both his spiritual and his bodily advisers. Sickness is ever with us, and there is as much need now, as in former days, for wise cooperation between the physicians both of the soul and of the body. The little book now before us contains much sound practical common sense within the 50 pages which are allotted to instruction by the medical man and the cleric respectively. Each little treatise may well be studied by the members of the other profession, and we are 1 Practical Hints for Pastoral Work among the Sick.
doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(00)78366-8 fatcat:qpcthafl3neevcdsspvcpav2ky