Fracture of First Phalanx of the Little Toe
Boston Medical and Surgical Journal
It was the custom of Mr. Healy after dinner to engage in conversation with the ladies and gentlemen at the table ; and on a number of occasions he directed his remarks personally to me in regard to a discovery a young dentist by the name of Morton had made of a medicine that would destroy pain, and which he was then experimenting with before giving it to the public. Such a discovery, he said, would indicate a great progress in medicine and encourage investigation, and that possibly I might, at
... ssibly I might, at some future time be connected with some great discovery. This, I presume, was said to encourage me as a medical student, as 1 was soon to graduate in medicine. Late in September of the same year Mr. Burbank sent mo an invitation to call at his office and meet Dr. Morton, who wished to interview me and learn what gases could be inhaled any considerable time without harm. I sent word that I had a previous engagement, but that I would see Professor Webster during the day and ask him, and call the next morning prepared to answer any question upon that subject, but was told that Dr. Morton would leave the city that evening and not return for several days; and consequently, I never met him. I have been thus minute in relating this circumstance, for the reason that it has been stated that the Academy of Science of France sent a letter to the Hon. Daniel Webster, asking his opinion regarding the merits of the claims of Drs. Jackson and Morton ; but I have never been informed that there was any record of his reply, and it would appear from the facts 1 have stated, that he would have had some knowledge of the discovery of anesthesia, a subject in which Mr. Ilealy was most deeply interested, and that he would not have given his opinion against Dr. Morton. In connection with the recently-reported instances of fracture of the first phalanx of the little toe, I send you the following case : Mr. S., driver, thirty-two years of age, states that two days ago his horse trod upon his left foot, in the region of the little toe. There was considerable pain at the time, which shortly disappeared, and did not interfere with his work. On the following day the pain returned, and a druggist whom he consulted informed him that the toe must be broken. On the third day he consulted me, when he presented marked crepitus, deformity, ecchymosis and pain over the region of the first phalanx of the left little toe. It was strapped to the fourth toe with adhesive plaster, and is doing well. Yours very truly, A visit to the library of the New York Academy of Medicine not long ago, and an inspection of its beautiful and well arranged reading-room and bookstack, situated in a fine fire-proof building on a quiet uptown street, made a very painful contrast in my mind to the crowded, poorly arranged quarters of the Boston Medical Library. It cannot be that the profession in Boston fully realizes that its library, now consisting of over 27,000 books and bound periodicals, and 24,000 pamphlets, to say nothing of many valuable paintings and priceless collections of photographs and prints donated by the noted medical men of Boston, are now huddled in an old dwelling-house many times too small to accommodate the library, and in eminent danger of being burned at any time. Twenty years ago the present building in Boylston Place was considered amply sufficient for the needsrof the library. To-day the books are piled on the floors and in every available nook and corner ; and yet room is lacking for them all, and the librarian has been forced to obtain storage-room outside the building for the works less eoiiiiiiiinlv consulted. It is not to be wondered at that many donations of books, instruments and portraits should be withheld by trustees of estates because there is no reasonable guarantee that, if cut rusted to the library they will not be destroyed by fire.