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a past age, and afterward entirely overlooked;” and he cites as examples the use of the uterine sound, spongetents, dilatation of the constricted cervix and even the speculum itself. The history of the last named instrument, upon which modern gynecology is based, is exceedingly instructive. Employed hạbitually by Paul of Aegina in the latter half of the seventh century, A. D., and furnishing him with an excellent knowledge of diseases of the uterus, it was forgotten by his successors until rediscovered by Recamier, and introduced to the profession in 1818.
But it is probable that we may learn equally as much from the follies, omissions and failures of the past as from its successes and achievements. Experience will always be fallacious and judgment difficult, and it is not likely that error can ever be avoided. It is well for us to realize that the future may pluck many a feather even from our ambitious wings, who plume ourselves on our attainments. It is not impossible that some Praxagoras of Cos may hereafter open the abdomen for the relief of obstruction of the bowels 2,200 years before men shall think the example worth following; that some Celsus may confound veins and arteries, although this same Praxagoras shall have known of their differences 400 years earlier; that some Aretaeus shall have heard a "bruit" in heart disease, but the hint lie dormant for many centuries; that this same close observer shall describe the crossing of the nerves and its effects 1,400 years before a Willis appears to beat it into men's brains; that men shall believe that arteries contain only air, although experience be continually teaching that they contain blood; that they shall believe that there are pores in the septa of the heart, although the utmost effort of vision fail to detect them; that some Massaria shall rather be wrong with Galen than right with any one else; that men shall have practiced ligation of arteries for hemorrhage for centuries before a Paré teach them to apply it in amputation; that surgery shall be turned over to the barbers; that mesmerism and hypnotism shall have another periodic discovery under some new name; that some Sylvius shall teach that the whole art of medicine consists in the administration of acids and alkalies, some Cullen, that
all pathology is referable to spasm, some Broussais that we must seek it only in inflammation; that some Auenbrugger's epoch-making discovery of percussion shall have to wait for the coming of a Corvisart; that some Brown shall slay his thousands with whiskey and opium, some Rasori, his ten thousands with the lancet and tartar emetic; that those will be found to combat blindly the unanswerable logic of the germ theory, and even to persist in their opposition, when the germs themselves shall be placed before their eyes; that they shall fight against the obstetrical forceps, cinchona and antiseptics. We may smile at the suggestion of such possibilities, the list of which could be very much lengthened, yet some of them have actually occurred not so very long ago, and what has been, or its like, will, with the certainty of fate, be again. He only is wise who realizes this fact, listens to the wholesome confessions of the past and is ever on his guard.
Let us now sum up some of the advantages of the study. of medical history that have been pointed out in this address :
1. It teaches what and how to investigate.
2. It is the best antidote we know against egotism, error and despondency.
3. It increases knowledge, gratifies natural and laudable curiosity, broadens the view and strengthens the judgment.
4. It is a rich mine from which may be brought to light many neglected or overlooked discoveries of value.
5. It furnishes the stimulus of high ideals which we poor, weak, mortals need to have ever before us; it teaches our students to venerate what is good, to cheerish our best traditions, and strengthens the common bond of the profession.
6. It is the fulfillment of a duty—that of cherishing the memories, the virtues, the achievements of a class which has benefited the world as no other has, and of which we may feel proud that we are members.
Having now shown the value—nay, I should rather say the necessity of the study of medical history, I shall conclude with a few words regarding its teaching. So import
ant a branch should receive the highest consideration. It should be taught in no desultory fashion, but as thoroughly as any other. There should be a chair of it—a full chair in every university. A systematic course of reading should be required in addition to the lectures, which should be not less than sixteen to twenty in number. It should be made a subject of examination, for all experience proves that in no other way can the attendance of the students be enforced. The time is near at hand when the 'standing of universities will be judged by their attitude to this branch and when it will be assigned a front rank in the curriculum.
No No Course attempted, no in
terest shown, aband'd.
Well attended, no exam.
No 10,796 Just founded, course not
1893 | Yes
8,000 Historical Society, Hist, of Med. generally
attended by students. Maryland Yes Prof. of Hist. Students 14 lectures
No 8,000- 9,000
Hist. of Surg.
3,500 Attended by one-half the Hist. of Med.
class. +Part of the University Library.
*Small, and limited to graduates,