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Medical Association of Georgia.
Fifty-Fifth Annual Session.
FIRST DAY-MORNING SESSION.
MACON, GA., April 20, 1904.
The Association met in the City Hall, and was called to order by the President, Dr. H. McHatton, of Macon.
Prayer was offered by the Rev. R. E. Douglas, of Macon, after which the address of welcome in behalf of the city of Macon was delivered by Mayor Bridges Smith, as follows:
I hope, my good doctors, you will believe me when I tell you that of all the people who have honored our city with a visit and whom it has been my privilege to welcome, not forgetting the convention of undertakers, I feel more genuine pleasure in tendering you the freedom of the city. As a general rule the doctor is always welcome, and there are occasions, in cases of appendicitis, for instance, when two doctors are welcome, but this is an occasion when all of you are welcome.
We esteem it an honor as well as a pleasure to have you with us, especially when we know that your visit is not professional, but social. We believe you will find it re
freshing to stay even if it is only for a day or so, in a city where the death rate is only eleven per thousand-in a city where the mortality is reduced to a mere skeleton, so to speak. I would certainly be pleased to give you as a souvenir of your visit the formula for this robust healthfulness, this robbery of the grave, as it were, but it might be regarded as a violation of professional ethics. This much I can say, however, it is my opinion that the Macon doctors have had something to do with it. In fact, I have heard it intimated that so skilled are they in healing they prefer a gradual recovery to a sudden dismissal of the subject, and the reason for this, so it is said, is that there is more money in a long lingering illness. Mind you, now, I said I had heard this. You cannot believe all you hear, especially about doctors.
Why, only the other day I heard this about one of our youngest physicians: He was asked by an older doctor what would happen to a patient if his temperature went down as low as it was possible for it to go. The young physician promptly replied, "He would have cold feet."
It is possible that our system of sanitary sewers, thirtytwo miles of underground arteries, may be one of the causes of this state of healthfulness in Macon. And there is our climate, possibly, that preserves us. By-the-way, if you stay with us you will discover that we have the greatest and most varied assortment of climate of any city of our size and population in the country. We can supply on short notice, while you wait, any known brand, from a biting, bitter blast to a scorching, suffocating simoon; from threatening, thunderful clouds to soft Italian skies; from dreary, dreadful Decembers to balmy, balsamic Junes, and in fact, any sort of weather or climate, though the general run is first-class and without a flaw.
It may be due to the water and if you should happen to drink any of it while here I can assure you of its absolute
purity. We use it often ourselves-as a chaser and so far as we know no bad effects have resulted.
But whatever it is, the fact remains that the death rate is only eleven per thousand. It is our hope and pride to get it down to ten. This may result in death to the undertaker but the sacrifice must be made somehow.
In the matter of health we challenge the world. Atlanta may boast of her towering sky-scrapers, Augusta her meandering canal, Columbus her wonderful water power and Savannah her Tybee and Thunderbolt, but Macon has more real, sound health than all of them combined and nothing can take it away from us. Now and then some of the surrounding counties unload smallpox on us, but we meet the enemy with the red flag and the victory is
But you are welcome, and you are at liberty to take with you as much of this health as you wish. We have the greatest admiration for the doctor, because he cures us of our ills. Even if he fails we have no regrets; if we have any they are not mentioned.
Seriously, gentlemen, Macon is honored by your presYou render valuable aid in bringing us into the world and I believe you try to keep us from going out of it as long as possible. In our hours of pain and suffering we turn confidently to you. We trustfully place ourselves in your keeping. Some of us may be worthless, hardly worth the killing, and yet you work to save us just as though we were the salt of the earth and worth millions.
Along the Atlantic coast the government maintains stations at which brave men keep steady watch for angry waves and storm-tossed vessels. These men plunge into the seething sea, in daylight and darkness, in good weather and bad, and, forgetting their own lives, strive to save the lives of others. It is thus with you. In daylight and darkness, in good weather and bad, amid the dangers of
contagion, you forget your own lives and strive to save the lives of others. If history dealt less with war and its heroes the world would know that there are more uncrowned heroes in your noble profession than were ever produced on battlefields.
Therefore, as everyday heroes, as members of a profession in which one can only rise by real and individual merit, we extend to you a most cordial welcome and the fullest freedom of a city we are vain enough to think is the most beautiful in the South.
The address of welcome in behalf of the citizens of Macon was to have been delivered by the Hon. Minter Wimberly, but he was unable to be present on account of sickness, and sent the following letter of regret:
IN CITY HOSPITAL.
Dr. H. McHatton, President, Medical Association of Georgia, Macon, Ga.:
DEAR DOCTOR:-When Lucullus gave his famous banquet of nightingale tongues, etc., the banqueters did not stand up. I would be with you to morrow if I, too, could recline. I busy myself doing that now-thanks to Derry, Williams and yourself.
Life is a paradox. I turn on one side and bless the doctors; I turn on the other side and damn them. I think the hospital is a benediction of God, yet I yearn to leave it. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to welcome to our city the good doctors to-morrow. I have been doing that in my room for about two weeks. The chiefest regret of my life is that I really cannot welcome the visiting doctors to-morrow.
I would be willing to make a nice contribution to foreign missions if Williams, Derry and yourself had fixed me so I could deliver a welcoming address to anybody to-morrow.
But seriously speaking, for nearly two weeks, I have listened impatiently for the foot-fall of my merry doctors who cut and run and come back at you again with a jest and a smile, a glance of the eye and a touch of the hand that comes from hearts of gold, healing, brightening, blessing.
I wish that I could be with you and your friends to do them honor and help them have a good time.
But the city welcomes them, the leading spirits of that profes
sion, which does more good, alleviates more suffering and dis-
The address of welcome in behalf of the local medical profession was delivered by Dr. Howard J. Williams, of Macon.
The response to the addresses of welcome was delivered by Dr. Wm. Perrin Nicolson, of Atlanta, as follows: Mr. Mayor and Gentlemen:
I have been somewhat bothered in my mind by the kindness of our friend, the distinguished President of this Association, who wrote me some time ago asking if I would assume the pleasant duty of responding to the address of welcome. Upon receiving the program I was shocked to see that I was expected to respond to three addresses of welcome. I decided then not to prepare any elaborate response, but to trust to what inspiration I could get from these addresses.
We come not as strangers to Macon, because almost every member present has on some former occasion tasted of its hospitality and the many, many kindnesses on the part of the citizens, and the beautiful tributes made by your mayor are certainly among the most touching I have ever listened to.
We come from all sections of the State-from the mountains to the seaboard, from towns and hamlets-and we come for the purpose of exchanging experiences and comingling with each other, so that the friction of mind against mind may bring out something, first, for the individual; next, for the profession, and last of all, for the collective good of the people. Under this last we include the study of the prevention of disease, and in this respect the medical profession stands absolutely unique and alone in