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ARMY MEDICAL REFORM.
The reform of the Medical Department of the Army was not effected by the last session of Congress. There are, however, strong reasons for the belief that it will only be a matter of a short time, when the well matured suggestions of the department will be embodied in the laws of the land. The medical edi. tors of the country have done a great deal to educate public sentiment in the direction of the necessary reform, but the object sought is of sufficient importance to warrant continued effort in the same direction. No wars, small or great, are expected by this country in the near future, and we hope that the handicapped medical department of the army will not be called upon to show its weakness as it did only a few short years ago, when hundreds of precious lives were sacrificed to the inadequacy of the laws governing the subject. It is natural that there should be opposition in the army to the proposed reforms, for the reason that when these reforms are effected, the relative importance of the military and the medical departments will be re-adjusted. The fact that such readjustment is in accordance with common sense, experience, and the demands of the times, does not lessen the unwillingness with which the military arm dislikes to give up an iota of its vested rights, as it considers them.
While considering this subject of the United States army, it is interesting to note that our medical cousins across the water are meeting the same problems as we have to meet. Sir Frederick Treves, in a letter to the London Times, writes of the medical arrangements of the British army, which he compares unfavorably with those of the Japanese. His letter has a very familiar sound, and it really looks as though if he were to change the words “British Army" for “United States Army" his letter would be thoroughly in line with the facts. He complains that there is no co-ordination of sanitary effort and no organization to cope with the great hygienic problems encountered in field service. The principal medical officer has no authority in the matter and no power or organization at command to carry out what he knows to be needed. The combatant officer receives no systematic instruction in the hygiene of troops on a campaign. The private soldier is taught how to seek cover, but not how to save himself from infection. The medical energy
of the British army in the field is at the wrong end of the column. It is in the rear to deal with the sick who fall out of the ranks; it should be in the van to protect the column from the onset of disease. Sir Frederick wants the laws amended so that the army surgeons shall be provided with authority and power to carry out in the field the sanitary arrangements essential to secure the minimum loss of life.
How much this sounds like letters that are written, and speeches that are made, on this side of the Atlantic! It would seem that the United States and Great Britain are equally slow in carrying out medical reforms in their armies; much slower than such practical people should be. But the reform is sure to come, and in both countries it is the physicians who are in the forefront of the fight to secure it. They are fighting the battles of the rank and file-of the soldiers, their fathers and mothers, who are the actual mourners when such unnecessary mortality from disease overtakes the army as always comes with an active campaign. The strange thing is that any officials should be willing to have upon their heads the blood of the innocent soldiers who are unnecessarily slaughtered by disease and whose death can be laid solely to the desire to retain certain inherited power and authority for the military department. — Medical Sentinel.
CAMPHOR IN PULMONARY CONSUMPTION.-Camphor, camphoric acid, cinnamic acid and the cinnamates have all been tried more or less as agents of value in phthisis, but their specific uses have not been satisfactorily determined. Volland (Therap. Monatshefte), who found that by injecting camphorated oil subcutaneously in cardiac dyspnoea, great relief was experienced, sought to apply it in cases of phthisis with weak heart. Success crowned his efforts. He now uses it in all cases cf pulmonary consumption, with the result of controlling the cardiac weakness and the consequent night-sweats, and accomplishing general improvement. No inconvenience is experienced other than the slight pain upon inserting the needle. At least twenty minims of a ten per cent. solution in olive oil should be administered once or twice a day. The U. S. P. preparation of camphorated oil (camphor twenty parts, cottonseed oil eighty parts) is thought to be less available, though stronger.- Eclectic Journal.
THE “MISSOURI VALLEY" AT ATLANTIC CITY.
After canvassing the sentiment among its most ardent supporters, it has seemed best to us not to attempt to hold a meeting of the Missouri Valley Homeopathic Medical Association in the West this fall, following so closely as it would the meeting of the American Institute and the International in New Jersey.
Most of those who attend their own at home also go to the Institute and would not feel like taking the time to go to the Missouri Valley meeting after having given a week to the other, so it has been decided to arrange for a meeting of the Missouri Valley at the same time and place as the American Institute.
H. R. MINER, M. D., Secretary,
Falls City, Nebraska. L. PINKERTON CRUTCHER, President, Kansas City, Missouri. August 6, 1906.
INFANTILE MORTALITY FROM "OVERLAYING." - Deaths of infants from “suffocation in bed” occur in Great Britain to a number which is astonishing. On account of the generally high mortality in infancy and of the share which suffocation has in adding to it, Dr. Wilcox reviews the statistics for the decade, 1891-1900. He finds the mean annual deaths of children under five years from this cause in England and Wales, excluding London, are 1,137, or 32.46 per million. For London the mean annual deaths are 612, or 139.44 per million.
The chief method of suffocation is by "overlaying," usually by the parents, but in rare instances other children and even cats have been responsible. The failure to provide cradles or cots for their infants and the drunkenness of the parents are most important factors. The large majority of the cases occur on Saturday and Sunday nights when, unfortunately, drunkenness is commoner. - The British Medical Journal, September 24, 1904.
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SOMETHING UNUSUAL.-I don't know when I have been any more surprised than I was in looking over the very first page of American Physician to find an article therein supposedly original, which should have been credited to my esteemed friend Blaine of Colorado Medicine fame. I refer to that little jolt he gave the osteopathic gunner who bombarded the throne of grace as a drawing specialty in the program of a recent church entertainment held in this city. Kraft isn't anything if hot ethical and inasmuch as he is a stickler for the nicities of newspaper and magazine etiquette it affords me much and prodigious pleasure to mention this apparent lapse.
“WHY WE LAUGH”—“And you laugh, and you laugh, and you laugh and you laugh-all the time you are in the Cave of the Winds' 'is the cry of a barker in front of one of the amusement features at Manhattan Beach, Denver, Colorado, and the infectiousness of the mirth is so far-reaching that Editor Halbert of The Clinique, in away-off Chicago, has had paroxysms of the same sort of hysteria, within a very recent period, only his
merriment is confined to the editorial
of a medical magazine which is so pompously prosperous that the editor threatens to tell of its circulation some time in the future. The Manhattan and magazine incidents being co-incident in producing the same sort of anti-sorrow, causes me to marvel why such great gobs of gray matter so widely separated should glide with so much apparent smoothness in parallel grooves.
“AMALGAMATION.” – Every once in a great while, or more often perhaps, the question of mixing the two dominant schools of medicine into one great organization comes up for discussion of a placid nature in one of the many journals devoted to medical matters, and with equal serenity the subject is dropped usually without having accomplished anything further than the occupation of considerable space which might have been devoted to more meritorious matter. The editor of Medical Century broke out in a fresh spot upon this subject in his July issue and declares that “the unification of the two great schools of medicine may be a question for debate at the coming meeting of the institute" and enjoins his readers to be present in order that "in future years they may be proud to say that their votes helped to make such unification possible,” whereat the editor of Hahnemannian Monthly took advantage of the opportunity to say something, which, upon careful investigation seems to hit the center spot of the subject inasmuch as it lays bare the cold and candid fact that up to the present time all of the overtures have been made by the homeopaths and that so far no invitation has ben either extended or implied by the American Medical Association; in plain terms the Hahnemannian suggests that the homeopaths wait until they are wanted before they attempt to forcibly enter the fraternal fold of an organization which has heretofore held aloof from them under any and all circumstances. The concluding paragraph of the editorial will be all that is necessary to convince any of our readers that there is a vast difference of opinion even in the minds of magazine editors, and the following from the pen of one of our foremost writers should inspire them with a determination to be present at the forthcoming meeting at Atlantic City and should a discussion of