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NEW-ENGLAND MEDICAL GAZETTE.
Contributions of original articles, correspondence, personal items, etc., should be sent to the publishers,
VOLUME XXVII. An old song to a new tune: a new year, a new volume, and yet much the same old words to say; words of gratitude for the friendliness and support which have been the GAZETTE's good portion in the year just ended : words of assurance that like friendliness and support are an ever-new need, alike for the year just beginning, and all tħe years of life which may be granted to the magazine which, as journals go, has already attained a not inglorious prime.
Would-be contributors — and, we would say with an emphasis whose iron, we trust, may deeply enter certain remiss and guilty souls — OUGHT-TO-BE contributors, for whose work the editorial eye, dim with hope deferred, is ever wistfully scanning the horizon, must have found several hints of suggestion and encouragement in scanning the “Communication " pages of the GAZETTE for the twelvemonth past. A chronic self-justification of the ought-to-be contributor, a constant plaint of the would-be contributor is that he can offer “nothing interesting” for the consideration of his fellow-workers. When reminded that every-day successes and every-day failures are, after all, the most fruitful possible subjects for the discussion of everyday practitioners, he vouchsafes only an incredulous smile. Yet proof of this assertion of, as it seems to us, a very striking sort, is furnished by the fact that a brief paper, offering, frankly, only a few “interrogations born of failure,” has created the
VOL. XXVII.- No. 1.
most widespread and living interest among GAZETTE readers, and brought in a pleasant harvest of comment and reply. Discussion is ever more fruitful than assertion, and discussion briefly and courteously representing much divergent thought, is always most welcome to our pages. Subjects are not wanting. For instance, the pros and cons of “maternal impressions” are by no means exhausted : and we would especially urge upon our readers the forwarding, in the interests of a scientific question of very great moment, all possible data on this subject, whether but a single well-authenticated case, or a tabulation of many such cases. A year's concerted effort in this one direction, with its consequent and wide interchange of opinion and experience might do much to throw light on a shadowy corner of heredity. How many of our readers can supply us with cases where there seems a reasonable certainty that the unborn child has been “marked,” physically or mentally, by some experience or emotion of the mother?
The immense interest manifested by physicians from all parts of the country, at the Homeopathic Congress, in the revision of the materia medica, makes it certain that much more is thought and is said in every day talk, on this most vital matter, than is ever hinted in print. Here, again, are pros and cons to an almost indefinite extent, whose public discussion would quicken the thought and widen the horizon of us all.
We submit, with all recognition of and respect for the excellent work our many local medical societies are already doing, that possibly it might be a very profitable year's experiment to till one small corner of some great field, rather than glean, vaguely and sporadically, over its whole extent. Thus, if one society would set itself as its year's task, divided systematically at the outset among the individual members, to collect and formulate data on some one single point, whether of drug pathogenesy, or general pathology, or therapeutics, or hygiene, there might, when the year's work was brought into connected form, be secured a lasting and definitely valuable contribution to medical facts and literature. We might come nearer certainty as to the value of certain drugs in certain conditions; we might come nearer certainty as to the pathogenetic possibilities of sub
stances now trusted by certain of us as persistently as they are ridiculed by certain others of us; a deal of definite fact might be the rich reward of concerted effort directed, for a single twelvemonth, toward a single and limited end. That the GAZETTE would be the richer for the privilege of giving to the profession the results of such work, goes without saying. And in just this connection, the GAZETTE wishes to express its cordial gratitude to the many secretaries who, without repeated and individual solicitation, have furnished prompt, detailed and highly valuable and interesting reports of the meetings of the societies they represent. Such reports are welcome and appreciated, always.
To all our readers, friends and contributors — may the three terms grow, continually toward being synonymous — a Happy New Year!
EDITORIAL NOTES AND COMMENTS.
Dont's For HOSPITAL NURSES come to us from far Australia, in a neat little leaflet prepared by Dr. Bouton, for so long resident physician at the Melbourne Homeopathic Hospital. They embody, pithily, a great many truths on the disciplinary, and ethical and practical side of nursing, which those entering that honorable profession need early to lay to heart, as golden maxims by which to shape their course. Here are a few of them :
Don't forget that you are expected to be a lady.
Don't fail to make your authority felt when needed, and don't use authority when kindly suggestion will produce the desired result.
Don't speak of doubtful subjects before patients.
Don't fail, if possible, to immediately answer a call of a patient.
Don't ever neglect one patient, because he does not complain, for another who does.
Don't leave medicine or food for very sick persons, or those in delirium, so they can take it themselves.
Don't fail, if possible, to anticipate the needs and wishes of your patient.
Don't fill a feeder, cup, or tumbler more than half full when giving a patient a drink.
Don't give a sick person more than a small quantity of either food or drink at one time. Little and often is a good rule.
Don't wake a patient to give medicine or food, unless so directed by the doctor.
Don't compel the doctor (from any carelessness) to repeat his orders.
Don't give the doctor cause to think you indifferent in respect to any of his directions.
Don't carry out the doctor's orders without knowing fully what he means.
Don't fail to note any change in your patient, and report the same to the doctor.
Don't fail, when sponging or changing a patient, to notice and report to the doctor any sores or unusual appearances.
Don't ever give a bed-pan or water-bottle to a patient until warmed.
Don't fail to put some disinfectant into the bed-pan before giving it to a patient in movement of bowels.
Don't fail to cleanse, as soon as used, any instrument, dish, or appliance.
Don't shake the register of a thermometer down into the bulb.
Don't ever taunt a patient with being a pauper - in shame, be it said, such a remark has been made by nurses in hospital practice.
To these we would add :
Don't forget that cheerfulness is the spiritual sunshine of the sick-room ; and don't allow any personal worry or ill to cloud what should always be the bright and kindly face turned by the nurse upon her patient.
Don't forget that in these days when the nurse enters the sick-room at the call of and as the ally of the physician, the
noble Oath of Hippocrates is as binding upon the nurse as upon the physician, and therefore —
Don't fail to commit to memory, and often repeat that fine paragraph of the Oath, which says, “I protest to keep my life and my science purely, sincerely and inviolably, without deceit, fraud or guile. I will not enter into any patient's house, but with purpose to heal him. I will patiently sustain the injuries, reproaches and loathsomeness of the sick. I will not betray that which is concealed or hidden, but keep it inviolable, with silence, neither reveal it to any creature.”
Don't forget that for the nurse to mention either carelessly or willfully “to any creature,” any secret of her patient's “mind, body or estate " that her position of trust has brought to her knowledge, is as shameworthy as for the priest to break his vows, or the soldier to turn traitor to his oath of allegiance.
THE SEVENTH ANNUAL REPORT OF THE WESTBOROUGH INSANE HOSPITAL does not contain the news, only very lately made public, of the resignation of Dr. N. Emmons Paine from the superintendency of that institution. Dr. Paine's service to the institution at the head of which he has stood since its opening, has been of such inestimable value, so unremitting in its conscientiousness, its keen intelligence, its sound effectualness, that it must ever remain a shining page in what we all trust may be a long and most prosperous history. The good wishes of hundreds of friends and co-workers, immediate and distant, will follow Dr. Paine into whatever field of work he may next enter. Dr. George S. Adams, who has long been associated with Dr. Paine in the work of the Westborough Hospital, will be his well-qualified successor. In his arduous position Dr. Adams will have the cordial good will of his colleagues everywhere.
The report of the past year shows growth and prosperity in all directions. The financial showing indicates nearer approach toward self-support, though efficiency rather than mere economy remains justly the prime consideration of the management. On the clinical side there are many suggestive facts dwelt upon ;