Page images
PDF
EPUB

has disappeared, ninety-nine out of every hundred medical men content themselves with the theoretical belief that in certain cases electricity may do good, without themselves using it; but I hope that before long it will be as common to see an electrical instrument on the consulting-room table as a stethoscope or an ophthalmoscope. Indeed, I think that nothing but the want of information as to the choice and management of instruments can explain the little headway that the practice of electricity has made with the mass of the profession—too much occupied in their daily work to spare time to study its uses in the hands of the very few physicians in this country who have given attention to the subject.

I assume on the part of the reader an acquaintance with the elementary facts of electricity, such as may be gathered from any handbook upon the Elements of Natural Philosophy. It will be no part of my object to discuss these facts, except incidentally with strict reference to their application to medicine.

In the first place I propose to describe the instruments which experience has proved to be reliable and not inordinately expensive, and how to keep them in good working order (a point of no little importance); and then, in full detail, how to use them. Afterwards I shall very briefly discuss their diagnostic and therapeutic application, and quote either from my own experience, or that of others, a

few illustrative cases, referring for further examples to the many and voluminous writings of the German and French electro-therapeutists.

NOMENCLATURE.

Firstly, a word or two on nomenclature.

Throughout this Handbook the following terms will be used :

ELECTRIZATION. The generic word for the application of electricity in therapeutics, and never to be made use of in any special or limited sense.

FRANKLINISM: FRANKLINIZATION.-Friction or Static Electricity. The oldest known variety, the electricity of glass and amber, that with which the name of Franklin will always be associated.

VOLTAISM : VOLTAIZATION.— Voltaic, Galvanic, Dynamic, Contact or Current Electricity, the Constant Current, Galvanism. * _The electricity of chemical action, that of Volta and Galvani.

FARADISM: FARADIZATION.The Induced Current, Electro-magnetism, the Interrupted Current. The currents of momentary duration discovered by Faraday to be generated or induced in a coil of copper wire by the action upon it, under certain conditions, of a permanent magnet, or of a voltaic current.

*" Galvanism," although commonly used, is improperly applied as a designation of Voltaic electricity.

† The word " interrupted currentis most improperly applied to these induced currents. Its use should be strictly limited to breaks or interruptions of a true voltaic current.

OF INSTRUMENTS.* To describe the many varieties of instruments in the market would alone fill a large volume. I propose only to refer to those which after numerous trials have been finally adopted for use at the National Hospital for the Paralysed and Epileptic as the most reliable, efficient, and, wear and tear considered, the cheapest. There are doubtless many others good and serviceable, but I have felt that the reader will rather thank me for not fatiguing him with an account of them all; and for relieving him as much as may be from the trouble of selection.

IS

I

S

1

FRANKLINISM. Franklinism is most conveniently generated by a Plate Machine (see fig. 1), in which the electricity arising from the friction of the rotating glass plate (B, fig. 1), against the upper and lower cushions, is collected by the two brass arms C, and distributed to the brass conductor, from which they branch out, and which is insulated by glass supports.

* The reader is strongly advised to satisfy himself that any instrument he may purchase is the manufacture of the original maker. Duchenne's instruments can only be obtained PROPERLY MADE from Charrière, of Paris; and Stöhrer's, if genuine, are stamped Dr. E. Stöhrer, Dresden." Unless this rule is adhered to disappointment will result, and the therapeutic application will be unsatisfactory.

I should recommend a machine with a plate of

[merged small][graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small]

*B, the revolving glass disk; c, the arms leading to the prime conductor at whose extremity, L, is a brass chain connected with k, a metal excitor or discharger insulated by a glass handle; A, a Leyden jar with its interior coating communicating through the ball E, and chain D, with the prime conductor, and so with the excitor k, and also with the first branch E', of the Electrometer. H', its second branch, which by a rack movement, w, can be separated or approximated to its first, and which is connected by the chain G', with the outer coating of the jar and also with the second excitor J. The two excitors, K and J, representing thus the charge of the outer and inner coating of the jar, can discharge it through any muscle. The intensity of the charge is regulated by the distance apart of the balls El j'.

about two feet in diameter. The machine should be fixed upon a firm stand or table, that it may be quite steady during rotation. The one that I habitually use is firmly screwed to a heavy painted deal table. It was made by Elliott Brothers, 449 Strand, price 141. 14s. There will also be needed a Leyden jar, two or three lengths of brass chain, or preferably of copper wire insulated by gutta percha; a couple of excitors insulated by glass handles (K and J, fig. 1); and a stool about four feet by two feet, with four glass balls or legs. A stool of this size admits of a chair being placed upon it, and it will be also useful for certain applications of voltaism, which will be mentioned later on. Four glass jars are also needed with which to insulate an ordinary couch. Care should be taken not to smear the cushions with too much amalgam, which had better be bought ready prepared. A piece about the size of a grape for each of the four cushions will be enough, and no more need be added for two or three months. The cushions should be screwed sufficiently tight to slightly “grip” the plate, and if it is found that notwithstanding having well warmed the flannel and rubbed all the glass of the apparatus, and especially the legs of the stool, that the instrument is not. acting well, remove the cushions and warm them thoroughly. Always scrape off old amalgam before using new. It is impossible to be too careful that everything is warm, clean and dry.

« PreviousContinue »