J.F. Weiss
1872 The Lancet  
in the proceedings-Dr. Lush, M.P., among the number. This meeting was held so recently as the 1st October last. The propriety of the resolutions which were then adopted has been acknowledged by a large number of country members, who, not being able to be present, have since written to me. These communications Mr. Barnes, no doubt innocently, chooses to ignore. Mr. Barnes urges "that it would be a fatal blunder to let the present opportunity pass without making a bold push to secure for the 4000
more » ... medical officers a proper recognition of their fitness for the post of health officers." I have never questioned their fitness for the position; indeed, I have continually urged that their skill and information should be utilised for the public good. What I have, however, advocated is, that they should act as deputies only to a superior medical officer, who, rendered independent of local influences and interests by a sufficient stipend and appointments, and on a large area, should, in giving orders, stand betwixt the Poor-law medical officers and the local ignorance and opposition to which they are so constantly the victims, as no one knows better than Mr. Barnes. The regret which takes the foremost place in Mr. Barnes's impressions of my letter, is at least equalled by the surprise with which I have read his; indeed, his letter is a standing proof of the necessity of protecting people against themselves and against those influences which, carrying with them delusive prospects of advantage, prevail in some cases over their better j judgments. At a general meeting of the Association, held at the Freemasons' Tavern in November, 1870, at which several provincial members were present, I find that Mr. Barnes proposed a resolution, "That the workhouse and district medical officers be appointed and styled deputy health officers." This fact needs no comment. Of course Mr. Barnes has a perfect right to change his mind as often as he pleases, but that scarcely constitutes him a judge of consistency, or entitles him to indulge in regrets over the steady avowal of a principle. The value of the airy decision (apart from the exigencies of peroration) which he passes upon the tenability of my position I leave to the judgment of those who have known me, my efforts, and, moreover, my sacrifices in the cause which I have advocated for some sixteen years past. ' As regards the prospects of the Association, one thing is certain, that the birth of this child of discord in our midst must have occasioned unspeakable joy in certain quarters; and that its progress will be watched with quite a parental fondness by our kind and sympathising friends at Whitehall is equally certain.-I am, Sir, yours obediently, Dean-street, December 10th, 1872. Jos. ROGERS. JOS. ROGERS. FORCIBLE FEEDING. To the Editor of THE LANCET. SiR,-I have read with regret the letter of Dr. Clouston on "Forcible Feeding," in your issue of Saturday last;regret, not because he writes disparagingly of my opinions, but because it is sad to discover that one has been reverencing an "eidolon" rather than a reality. Hitherto I have been led to regard Dr. Clouston as possessing a calm and judicial mind, capable of-nay, as habitually-observing facts and weighing evidence without passion, and as being scrupulously exact in statement, and cautious in drawing conclusions ; and now he has shown to me that he jumps to conclusions in as rash and hasty a manner as any visionary or partisan whatever. Thus, in writing of me, he says :-"Above all, he quoted from memory" Dr.Conolly's opinion "that many or most of his patients whom he had fed with the stomach-pump subsequently died in conseq2cence." (The italics are mine.) Short as is the above-quoted paragraph, it contains two grave and inexcusable errors. First, Dr. Clouston rashly concludes, and states, that I " quoted from memory," whereas I distinctly alleged that Dr. Conolly " has left on record." Not only does the writer thus misrepresent a fact, but appears to intimate that my memory must have been false, inasmuch as with all his extensive research in Conolly's writings, he could not find any " confirmation" of my statements. Dr. Clouston's second error is worse than his first, for he makes me to represent Conolly as saying "that many or most of his patients whom he had fed with the stomachpump subsequently died in consequence." I never alleged that Conolly had fed a patient with the stomach-pump ; and so far from declaring that H many or most had subsequently died in consequence," I quoted Dr. Conolly's exact words, as follows:— I do not mean to conclude that they died in consequence, although I have reason to suspect that such was sometintes the case." It is by such erroneous statements and inaccurate quotations as those described that mischief is created and reputations suffer, and they act with double force when they emanate from men in Dr. Clouston's position. It is to rectify these errors that I write, and not to agitate the question of "forcible feeding." During thirty-two years' practice in private and public lunatic hospitals I have probably fed almost as many lunatic patients as Dr. Clouston ; but, having stated my experience in this matter, I have nothing further to add than that I am, Sir, yours respectfully,
doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(02)56669-1 fatcat:iamqxaucyff2vlqtgta343cfja