« PreviousContinue »
brisk (* volatil"), that is to say, to facilitate respiration while making an ascent. At each long excursion on the mountains, they take a little morsel of arsenic, which they allow to dissolve gradually in the mouth. The effect is surprising ; they ascend easily heights which they could not surmount except with the greatest difficulty, without this practice. I will add here that, based on this fact, I have administered Fowler's Solution in asthma with signal success.
The quantity of arsenic with which the arsenic-eaters commence, according to the acknowledgment of many of them, is rather less than half a grain. They stop at this dose, which they swallow many times a week in the morning at breakfast, for some time, “ to habituate themselves;" then they increase the dose insensibly and cautiously, and according as the usual dose loses its effect. The peasant R., of the commune Ag— , a sexagenarian, enjoying very good health, took actually each time a piece equal to nearly four grains. For forty years he maintained this habit, inherited from his father, and bequeathed to his son.
It is worth noting, that no trace of arsenical cachexy is visible in this individual any more than other arsenic eaters; the symptoms of chronic arsenical poisoning never appearing in those who know how to apportion the dose to their constitution and idiosyncracy (tolerance). It must, however, be remarked, that the suspension of the use of arsenic, whether through want of the poison, or for any other reason, is always followed by morbid phenomena which resemble those of arsenical poisoning
intoxication) in a milder degree; for instance, there is observed great uneasiness, with indifference to surrounding objects, solicitude for their persons, indigestion, anorexy, sensation of fullness of stomach, glairy vomitings, with pyrosis, spasmodic constriction of the pharynx, griping, constipation, and above all dyspnoea. Against these phenomena, there is no remedy save the immediate return to arsenic. From information the most accurate, received from the inhabitants of this country, poisoneating never degenerates into a passion, as opium-eating in the East, the use of betel in India and Polynesia, and of coca in Peru, but becomes rather a necessity for those who are addicted to it. This abuse of arsenic is in other countries simulated by that of corrosive sublimate. I recollect a case known and authenticated by the English ambassador in Turkey, that of an opium-eater of Broussa, who swallowed daily with his opium, the enormous quantity of forty grains of corrosive sublimate. In the mountains of Peru, I have often met similar individuals; and in Bolivia, the use of corrosive sublimate is so extensive, that the article is openly sold in the provision market.
It is useless to mention the common use of arsenic, even in Vienna, particularly by the grooms and coachmen of the great. They mix a good portion with meal, a piece of which, the size of a pea, they wrap up in a piece of linen, and fasten it to the bridle when harnessing. The glossy, round, and elegant appearance, equal to that of the most choice horses, and above all, the white foam at the mouth, arise generally from arsenic, which has the effect of increasing salivation. The charioteers in mountainous districts, put often a dose of arsenic in the forage which they give their horses previous to a laborious ascent. The jockeys often supply themselves with little leaden pellets, for the short winded horses which they take to market. They cause them to swallow from a quarter to half a pound. These pellets are made with one part of arsenic to one hundred of lead, and it appears the effect of them, which lasts some days, is due to the arsenic which they contain. The quantity of arsenic which is found on those gentlemen of the stable, is sometimes considerable. A brewer, R- A- , sent to an apothecary of his neighborhood, Mr. B. Sch— , a piece of arsenic, three quarters of a pound weigbt, which he found in his servant's trunk. The past winter, a peasant poisoned himself in my vicinage, with a piece of arsenic the size of a pear, which he pulverized and swallowed with water; he died in half an hour. This practice is continued for years without accident; but when the horse passes to an owner who does not use arsenic, he sickens, loses spirit, becomes lean, and despite the most abundant food, never regains his good appearance.
These sketches of "poison eaters” will show how useful it is to physicians and jurists to be aware of this wide-spread abuse in some of the countries of Austria. The judicial investigation, of which mention is made at the beginning of this letter, has not established the fact, that M. Wurzel, was an “arsenic eater;" but the supposition is allowable. If the autopsy and chemical examinations had not been conducted with unpardonable negligence; if the accused (endowed with a quick genius), had been erabarrassed by cross questions, and been led into contradic. tions and inaccurate declarations, it is probable that the verdict of the jury would have been less favorable for the woman, Alexander, despite her innocence.
[Another letter containing further statements to the same effect, from the same hand, is connected with this, and followed by this,
Note du Redacteur. It is desirable that men of science, residing in the localities where are said to be found the “arsenic eaters," should confirm or deny the statements of M. Tschudi.]
Aneurism of the Ophthalmic Artery: Ligature of the Carotid.The subject of the above rare disease was received into the London Hospital, by Mr. Curling, for concussion of the brain and fracture of the claviele, produced by a fall on the shoulder and side of the head. Five weeks after admission the eye began to swell, protrude and pulsate, the sight becoming at the same time weak. The stethoscope applied to the temple gave proofs of a distinct bruit; and ophthalmic aneurism having been diagnosed, Mr. C. tied the carotid artery, June 2d, 1854. Immediately after the operation, the sight of the eye was suddenly lost; but it has since gradually returned, and the patient is doing well.—Lancet, July 17, 1854.
'In the Medical Times of last June, a similar interesting case is related by Professor Van Buren; the ligature of the carotid in this case was not followed by the same happy result as in that of Mr. Curling; sufficient time, however, has hardly yet elapsed since the operation of Mr. C. for the final issue to be known.
Marshall Hall in England.-On the return of this distinguished physiologist to his native town, Nottingham, after an interval of more than a quarter of a century, he was warmly greeted by his professional brethren, and invited by the Medico-Chirurgical Society of Nottingham, to a soirée at their rooms.
A brief congratulatory address by the President introduced Dr. H. to the meeting, who, after a reply, couched in expressive and feeling language, proceeded to make some observations on the physiology and pathology of the spinal system, with a description of a new method of opening the trachea in epilepsy. This consists in the use of scissors instead of scalpel : each blade is filed a little distance from the point, so as to leave a notch. With these the integuments are first to be divided, and the trachea pierced; the blades are then to be gently but firmly opened; into the orifice thus made, a cage of wire (i. e, a long piece of wire several times bent upon itself), is to be inserted, and the operation is complete—complete with scarcely the loss of a drop of blood or of a minute of time. The cage admits of compression for introduction and for removal to be cleaned.
After a vote of thanks, the Doctor briefly alluded to his visit to this country, and to the highly flattering manner in which he was everywhere received. Lancet.
· Lithotomy.—At a meeting of one of the branches of the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association, Mr. Elliott reported a case of Lithotomy, in which he removed a very large stone, more than seven ounces in weight, under circumstances of unusual difficulty. The stone had been twenty-eight years in the process of formation; it was of a very peculiar structure, and its nucleus was a clot of blood.
Mr. Duke related a case in which, although there was every evidence of stone before the operation, yet at the time of the operation it was impossible to discover it. On postmortem, there was found a sort of mammillary projection from the surface of the bladder, which, when that organ was fuil, stood erect, and allowed the stone to be felt with the sound; but when the bladder was emptied, this projection collapsed, and entirely covered, as in a sac, four calculi, which were thus found perfectly concealed.
Rupture of an Anchylosed Knee-joint. A man, aged 29 years, who had had incomplete anchylosis of the knee for upwards of nine years, the result of an accident, placed himself under the care of a practitioner who, by violent efforts, broke through the anchylosis. The leg, however, remained luxated backwards, the femur projecting anteriorly about four fingers' breadth. Four fistulous passages formed ; swelling of the joint, severe pain, and loss of power in the limb, accompanied by hectic fever, supervened; and the limb was finally amputated. Examination of the limb proved that the ligaments of the knee were destroyed, and the whole of the cartilages had been removed by ulceration.-Med. Times and Gazette.
Re-vaccination in the Prussian Army, for 1853. During 1853, 44,652 men were revaccinated. Of this number 32,642 presented de
cided vaccine scars; in 7,643 the soars were doubtful; and in 4,367 there was an entire absence of scar.
Re-vaccination produced a regular vaccine vesicle in 28,329 persons ; an irregular one in 5,933 ; and failed entirely in 7,664. Hence re-vaccination succeeded in 69 cases out of 100.
A table of those re-vaccinated in the Prussian army for the last twentyone years shows that the number of cases in which re-vaccination succeeds, has been gradually increasing from 33 in 100 in 1833, to 69 in 100 in 1853, with almost entire regularity.-Bullet. Gén. de Thér.
CITY.-The chair of the Institutes and Practice of Medicine at the University Medical College, so recently vacated by the decease of the lamented Professor Swett, has been filled by the appointment of John T. Metcalfe, M.D., of this city. As is well known, Dr. M. has discharged the duties of assistant professor in the Institution for the last three years past, so that he may be said to have been in training for his present position. We are sure that we speak the sentiments of the profession when we say, that the appointment is most appropriate, and one which cannot fail to redound to the honor and prosperity of the University.
We are happy to announce the return of Prof. Bedford, in good health.
Colleges. The winter term of the lecture season has commenced ; and the colleges, with their cliniques, are in full blast. The College of Physicians and Surgeons (Crosby street), was opened on Monday, Oct. 16th, by an address from Prof. John Torrey; the usual fil commencement was celebrated on the same occasion, when degrees were conferred, by President Stevens upon twelve candidates. The University Medical School, (Fourteenth street), commenced its course on the same evening, President Draper delivering the opening address; the latter part of which consisted of a eulogy upon Professor Swett, whose example he beautifully set forth in illustration of "what a physician ought to do, and to be.” The New York Medical College (Thirteenth street), followed on the 18th, Prof. E. H. Parker delivered the opening address.
New York Hospital. Five candidates are in nomination for the vacant place of physician to this hospital, Drs. A. Clark, T. F. Cock, Metcalfe, McCready, and Quackenboss. The appointment will probably be made at the next monthly meeting of the governors, on the 7th inst. The new building, on the site of the Marine Hospital, approaches its completion, when it will accommodate 250 patients. It is probable that it may not be occupied before February or March.
Bellevue Hospital. Dr. John A. Lidell has been appointed Surgeon to this Institution, in place of Dr. Isaac Greene, deceased. The resignation of Dr. John O. Stone, who has so faithfully and acceptably served this hospital since the organization of the Medical Board in 1848, creates another vacancy, for which we understand that Dr. Stephen Smith, is the most prominent candidate. There are over 700 patients at present in this establishment, so that it
VOL. IV.-No. 2.
is crowded from “turret to foundation stone." We learn that the Board of Governors will soon either add a third story to the main building, or put up an additional wing, which it is proposed to restrict to the use of patients with phthisis, and lying-in women. In this connection, we may mention the appoint ment of Dr. F. B. Franklin, at the Blackwell's Island Hospital, in place of Dr. I. E. Macdonald; and also, of Dr. C. C. Jewett, at the Penitentiary Hospital.
Cholera. Several cases of sudden death in high circles, have recently occurred in this city, with symptoms of cholera; these have appeared after the use of oysters, which, from some peculiar condition, seems to have been the exciting cause. For the moment, there is an oyster panic.
We beg leave to call attention to the notice of the Annual Address before the N. Y, Academy of Medicine, on the 2d Nov., at the Mercantile Library Association, Astor Place.
MISCELLANEOUS. In the July number of tho Times it was announced, that Professor Wm. Gibson had resigned the chair of Surgery in the University of Pennsylvania. This seems to have been an error, as the name of Prof. Gibson is still continued in the circulars of that venerable icstitution.
Dr. D. Humphreys Storer has been appointed to the chair of Midwifery and Medical Jurisprudence in the Medical Department of Harvard University, as successor to Prof. Walter Channing.
Prof. Flint on the Philosophy of Spirit Rapping. This most atrocious humbug has recently been blown sky-high, by the investigations of the French Instituto; a case having been reported to that body, by M. Schiff, in which a female was able to create the rappings by the snapping, at will, of the tendon of the peroneus longus, over the external malleolus. Professor Flint, of Louisville, Ky, being in Paris at the time, communicated to the Institute, through M. Rayer, the result of the researches made by Drs. Lee, Coventry, with himself, upon the Fox girls at Buffalo, some years since, by which it was proved that the noise may be produced, either by ihe slipping of the tendon from its sheath behind the outer ankle, or, by producing, at will, a lateral displacement of the knee joint. It is necessary, in order to produce these sounds, that the feet should rest upon the floor, or some firm support. The paper by Prof. Flint was received with high pleasure by the Institute, as setting forth this imposture in its true light.
Preaching and Practice. Under the head of " Married,” may be found an illustration of the union of preaching and practice.
DOMESTIC. Weekly Mortality. City.–For the week ending Sept. 30, 612:consumption, 76; apoplexy, 10; cholera, 47; cholera infantum, 21; inflammation of bowels, 9; dysentery, 30; diarrhea, 36; croap, 9; typhus fever (includ. ing " typhoid ”), 17. For the week ending Oct. 7, 516: consumption, 46; cholera, 41; cholera infantum, 11; convulsions, 37; diarrhæa, 31; dysentery,