Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

on

dreadful necessity ; but expect much from and thither, and the last expression of it, and look too hopefully on its supposed opinion in favor of it or against it is the past triumpbs. Few English medical men one that, for the moment, influences them. practise it ; still fewer feel any satisfaction Candidly speaking, I am myself still unin it. Whether justifiable or not is not able to form a positive opinion as to the now the question, but I am sure of this, value of Pasteur's treatment: my prejuthat the victory or discomfiture of Pasteur dices, as some would call them, are decidwill not dispose of the matter : the con- edly against its value, but in view of the querors and the conquered in that field irreconcilable conflict of opinion among will be ready for other conflicts as embit- the keenest observers I am still compelled tered and perennial.

to suspend judgment. It must be perfectPerhaps I may be pardoned for a brief ly obvious to any mathematical mind that digression here. A great number of peo- if Pasteur's treatment is, in some cases, ple object to vivisection, but think that it useful, he is on the high road to still more has led to memorable results; they are important discoveries, but that if bis inocprepared to attend anti-vivisection meet- ulations have, as some high authorities asings, to sign petitions, and to give a quali- sert, no more to do with hydrophobia than fied assent to prohibitory measures ; they with the lost books of Livy, those inoculaobject to unnecessary experiments, ask for tions are totally useless. Strange to say, regulation, and, in short, waver from year's I sometiines meet with highly educated end to year's end : these persons form the people, often university men of standing vast majority of the educated classes. We too, who admit that they do not believe have also a handful, who detest orthodox that Pasteur bas cured or prevented a medical practitioners and abominate vivi- single case of the disease, the evidence of sectiun, but it is hard to discriminate be. failure is too overwhelming, but they go tween their hatred of doctors, their disbe- on to say that perhaps some day his labors lief in science, and their horror of vivisec- will lead to useful iesults.

Such a position. Again, we have a group, who do tion I cannot comprehend. To oppose is not believe in vivisection at all, nor in any- logical, and the opposition may be thing else, but love to be in opposition, physiological or on moral grounds, or he and so oppose Pasteur, physiology, physic may be credited with having made great -legitimate and illegitimate—and science. discoveries, but to deny that he has done Still, again, we have a few thoughtful, anything in the matter, and yet to look generous, upright people, among whom I for great results hercafter, is a confusion should place my accomplished friend Mr. of ideas that makes me despair. Chudleigh, who honor science and self- The rarity of hydrophobia is far greater denying medical practitioners, and yet than most persons would believe, and, at shudder at vivisection, questioning its util- the risk of wearisome repetition, I must ity, emphatically denying its morality, and dwell upon it, for on it depends the chief arguing with much show of reason that, difficulty in accepting Pasteur's alleged even granting that vivisection occasionally triumphs. Perhaps a dozen deaths from leads to discoveries, those discoveries hydrophobia are on the average registered might have been as surely obtained by ob- in the United Kingdom every year, and servations on man, and that the violent other countries hardly show a longer methods of the vivisectionist are not of death-rol). Professor E. Ray Lankester value, for they have nothing in common says as follows : “ In England as many as with the more gradual operations of nature. thirty-six persons died from the disease in Most people, however, take a somewhat 1866 ; in France 288 persons were its viccold-blooded view of the subject ; they do tims in 1858 ; and in Prussia and Austria 110t wish to be present at experiments on it is more frequent than in England." living animals, and rather dislike any one Bearing on this matter—the small percentwho performs them ; at the same time age of rabid dogs among all the animals they would gladly profit by any discoveries biting human beings--the official letter made by such means, however morally in addressed by the Commissioner of Police defensible. Pasteur's treatment they do of the Metropolis to the Secretary of the not approve, nor do they condemn it, for Dogs' Home is important. It is dated they know too little of the inatter to form July 1, 1886. In it occur these signifian opinion of any value : they drift hither cant words: “No less than 180 police officers have been bitten by dogs since last I cannot get the most recent figures, November. Two were sent to M. Pasteur but two years ago I was positively assured to Paris, to be treated some weeks since: that at least 126 deaths had followed the and one police constable, bitten by a dog preventive treatment, and an eminent certified to be mad, is on his way to Paris writer turned the tables completely round to-night." These dogs were the neglect- on Pasteur, and asserted that the injection ed, forlorn creatures infesting the streets, would in many cases cause active disease and they are oftener the victims of hydio- and spread hydrophobia far and wide, phobia than other animals, and yet not much as inoculation for small-pox carried one of the 180 constables whom they bit that terrible disease into all parts of Euseems to have developed hydrophobia, or rope and so largely augmented the deathto have died from the bite, while only rate from small-pox that it had to be dethree were sent away to undergo Pasteur's clared illegal. Mr. Chudleigh has, howtreatment. I need hardly add that not ever, come to my assistance, and has given one of these three might ever have devel- me the most recent information on which oped hydrophobia, nor is it certain that he can lay his hands. the dogs that bit them were in a dangerous Froin this it appears that up to the end condition,

of October, 1889, M. Pasteur claimed to Having at one time known Sir Williain have treated upward of 9,000 persons, and Jenner well, and having in my student the deaths following his treatment had days at University College formed a very then reached 183, although it is not imexalted opinion of his great ability and possible that many others had occurred of singular capacity, I wrote asking him, as which no particulars had reached the pubone of the Royal Commissioners for the lic. True, this necrology rests in the main investigation of Pasteur's treatment, his on the authority of the Anti-Vivisection frank opinion. Sir William at once re- Society, and it might be open to suspicion plied :

as coming from a hostile quarter ; but, as I am sorry that I am unable to afford you Thomas Lauder Brunton, whose eminence

a set-off to this objection, Professor any assistance in the matter that you bring before me: I am not sufficiently acquainted in the scientific and medical world is only with all the facts, nor do I think the facts are surpassed by his distinction as an apostle yet dumerous or definite enongh for any one of vivisection, frankly admitted before the to form a conclusion. I think the question Lords' Committee on Rabies in Dogs should still be regarded as sub judice. I am not in any way prejudiced-my mind is quite that this table was accurate, and that it open upon the subject. I assisted in sending seemed to him to have been drawn up with over two cases to Paris, and they have both extreme care. So far good. Now 9,000 done very well, but I am not at all sure that

cases of bites from rabid dogs in four the dogs that bit them were mad : they were said to be.

years, in France mainly, seems a long list

of casualties, and the more thoroughly we This letter is dated August 4, 1886, but examine the figures the greater our diffiI am not aware that the ex-President of culties. If nearly all these cases the Royal College of Physicians has genuine bites from rabid dogs—and if we changed his mind since.

accept Professor Ray Lankester's estimate, Dr. Jacob, of Leeds, a rising physician, that 16 per cent. of the sufferers would has suggested that Pasteur's experiments die of hydrophobia-Pasteur saved at least should be repeated by an independent au- 1,300 lives, making allowance, that is, for thority, for at present there are great diffi- the 183 recorded deaths ; but it is appalculties in accepting his cure as proved. If ling to be told that but for his interposition among 600 or more patients treated at the annual death rate from hydrophobia Paris 100 had been bitten by mad dogs, would have stood from 200 to 300 higher he would expect about six to become af- in France alone than it actually did. Is fected with hydrophobia, and if no cases there any evidence for believing anything of hydrophobia occurred among them, that so improbable ? On the other hand, aswould be a strong presumption in Pasteur's suming that a majority of the sufferers bad favor but not an absolute proof. One not been bitten by rabid animals, and putInight fancy that Pasteur's experiments ting the death-rate at 5 per cent. in those had been on a scale sufficiently extensive who had - an estimate finding favor with to satisfy the most exacting requirements. many authorities of repute—then 183

were

66 No

cases,

deaths among, say, 4,000 cases, would impressions, and may be ridiculed as valseem to show that the anti-rabic treatment ueless or actually misleading, so that I was only a gigantic imposture.

only claim to have endeavored to give a “ It is rather a curious comment,” says plain and unvarnished narrative of what I the British Medical Journal of July 10, saw and of the conversations I heard. 1886, on the letter of Sir Charles Warren Surely many readers will exclaim, with regard to the multiplicity of rabid easier task was ever given an investigatdogs," that the Hydrophobia Commission or.” Is this really so ? Is it not rather is at present retarded in its investigations true that the rarest qualifications are needby tho difficulty of obtaining a rabid dog ed? To observe demands the keenest with which to test the efficacy of the pro- vision, the inost retentive memory, the tection afforded by inoculation.'

soundest judgment. Why, the very apThough I have seen hundreds of dog- pearance of a distinguished man, and bites, I bave never seen a case of hydro- surely that is a simple matter, is not given phobia, and I have not knowo more than as the same by any three different highly iwo or three medical men who had seen trained observers. A charming and pow

This, again, proves the extreme erful writer in the National Review of rarity of the disease and the improbability August 1886, describes Pasteur's eyes as that thousands of persons should be bitten “ dark blue,” but in the Fortnightly of in the course of three or four years by July 1886, G. M. Crawford twice says huis rabid animals in Europe alone, though it eyes are topaz.yellow." Color blindis conceivable that in a few weeks hun- ness somewhere !' Contrast with this undreds might fancy that the animals which certainty as to the color of the eyes, the had bitten or scratched them were rabid. complexion ; in one case said to be Yet of these hundreds of sufferers not one “ bronzed,'' in another“ pale !!! As for might, even without any treatment, become his stature there is the saine uncertainty, rabid. It is sufficiently common for peo- and one person saw only a short, stout, ple to fancy that any dog chancing to bite elderly man, where another beheld the Them is mad, when the wonder is that more figure of a soldier" of a majestic bearing. people are not bitten by the poor, wretched Fortunately, no one represents Pasteur as little creatures that are every day wor- a giant, that would have been too great a ried, beaten, and frightened, and in their fight of the imagination. terror snap at the nearest tormentor.

During the suinmer of 1886, at least No treatment for hydrophobia is in three articles of great merit appeared on medical circles regarded with favor, al- “ Pasteur and Hydrophobia :" one in the though the most potent remedies have Nineteenth Century, from the pen of Probeen repeatedly resorted to ; not one has fessor E. Ray Lankester, was couched in stood the test of scientific inquiries, nor terms so laudatory that they must have received the support of medical practi- brought a deep blush to the cheek of the tioners, except of the particular group French savant, who surely had never bewho had introduced it, and yet it is iri- fore been credited with a more brilliant structive how doubly industrious the in- list of discoveries and triumphs ; a second, ventors of infallible methods of treatment in the Fortnightly, was much less complifor the cure of hydrophobia have been of mentary, and perhaps erred in ascribing to late. Without a particle of evidence, we Pasteur and his assistants the role of charare bewildered by entreaties to resort to a latans if not of knaves, while the author cure called Buisson's, which consists in binted that the disease itself might only being parboiled ; this, with the addition exist in the mind of nervous sufferers; of injections of pilocarpine, is said to cure the third article, in the National Review, all sufferers who do not die.

approached the subject differently; the So much has been published about M. author was positively awe struck by the Pasteur, and his methods of treatment are genius of Pasteur, and fully accepted his so widely known, that all I could attempt discoveries as proved. She made no claim in my visits to his rooms was to observe to be regarded as competent to judge of curiously anything I saw, and describe it the merits of the case. There is someas accurately as possible. Hurried im- thing positively charming in the frankness pressions from brief interviews with busy with which this talented authoress says : men are particularly liable to lead to false As I left M, Pasteur I ventured to say to him

[ocr errors]

that I had greatly known and greatly beloved So little was hydrophobia understood, and to the man who had conquered pain by chloro- so small an extent had it been studied pro. form, and that I should always be grateful to viously to M. Pasteur's investigations, that it have met the savant who was about to rid the was regarded by a certain number of highly world of one of its most. cruel scourges. As competent physicians and physiologists, al. be lifted his eyes to my face, and replied, though this was not the general view, as a

Madam, you are really very good to speak condition of the nervous system brought about thus to me," I noticed their peculiar expres- by the infliction of a punctured inflammatory sion. They seemed to look and yet not to see, wound, in which the action of a specific viras and I asked myself—Was this only the effect or poison took no part: it was in fact by of the day's fatigue, or of that incessant use some physicians regarded as a variety of lock. of the microscope which had brought on his jaw, or tetanus. Denth results from spasm of illness? His figure remains graven on the the respiratory muscles, the patient dies asmenory. In the middle of Paris, of the Paris phyxiated. The desire to bite is rare. The which stews forever in the juice of her own disease invariably, as in the dog and other deinocratic passions, and of her own godless animals, terminates fatally, and usually be. and clandestine joys, ho seemed to stand out tween the second and fifth day after the'sympa high priest of Nature. Nor is he a mere toms have been first observed, though it some. scientist searching for knowledge under the times runs on to the ninth day. daylight of his intelligence. Science in her gravest mood tends ever to utility, and Pas

To form a right judgment as to Pasteur teur seeks for the truth that is alone worth is not easy. He must be a nian of coniknowing how to be accurately and practically manding ability, for his name is associated useful to mankind.

with a long list of brilliant discoveries ; What a eulogium !—" the man about but I have not sufficiently studied his life to rid the world of one of its most cruel and works to feel justified in hinting that scourges.' Professor Lankester's opinion his merits have been overestimated, for of Pasteur is also worth reading.

fame is not easy to get, and such fame as M. Pasteur is no ordinary man : he is one

his must have something more solid to of the rare individuals who must be described rest upon than the extinction of hydroby the term genius. Having commenced his phobia, which, in the face of nearly 200 scientific career, and attained great distinction deaths after his treatment, seems someas a chemist, M. Pasteur was led by his study what problematical. of the chemical process of fermentation to give his attention to the phenomena of dis

Arrived in Paris, having already introease in living bodies resembling fermentation. duced myself to Pasteur by some correOwing to a singular and fortunate mental spondence, I made my way to 14 Rue characteristic, he has been able not merely to Vauquelin ; and having passed through a pursue a rigid path of investigation dictated by the logical or natural connection of the plain wooden door into a narrow paved phenomena investigated, but deliberately to yard, I found two other doors to my left, select for inquiry matter of the most profound and on inquiry was told that they opened importance to the community, and to bring into the waiting-room. The sight that his inquiries to a successful practical issue in a large number of instances. Thus he has

met me was very similar to that in any saved the silkworm industry of France and out-patient room in large general hosItaly from destruction, he has taught the pital in England, with this difference, that French wine-makers to quickly mature their whereas in an English waiting-room many wine ; he has effected an enormous improve of the sufferers look very ill and are dirty, ment and economy in the manufacture of beer, he has rescued the sheep and cattle of depressed and ragged, those in Pasteur's Europe from the fatal disease Anthrax, and it entrance-hall mostly clean, well is probable--he would not himself assert that dressed and cheerful, and among them it is at present more than probable, that he has rendered hydrophobia a thing of the past. patients I could not always ascertain, evi

were many persons, whether spectators or would have rendered him, had he patented dently of good social position. Much their application and disposed of then accord- animated conversation was going on, and ing to commercial principles, the richest man people were laughing merrily. At the in the world. They represent a guin of some

end of the room, to the left, was a wooden millions sterling annually to the community, It is right for those who desire that increased railing separating a smaller room or recess support to scientific investigation shonld be from the larger, and as a large crowd was ufforded by the governments of civilized collected there I made my way to it, and states, to point with emphasis to the definite found a young man calling over a list of ability and pecuniary value of M. Pasteur's

numbers and names ; with some difficulty work, because it is only in rare instances that the discovery of new knowledge and the ap.

I reached the barrier and attracted his atplication of that knowledge go hand in hand. tention. I told him who I was,

and asked

were

[ocr errors]

to be taken to M.. Pasteur ; the clerk sim. process was rapid, and scores of people ply pointed to a very short man at his side, care in quickly, were operated on, and wearing a smoking.cap and said : " There passed out. I was struck by the admirable is M. Pasteur ; pray speak to him.”! Ac. order which prevailed, the calmness and cordingly I passed through the gate, and good behavior of the patients, and the advancing to M. Pasteur handed him my noiselessness and rapidity with which, card; he glanced at it and remarked: when the injections were over, they filed Would

you

wait till the doctors come out. Ar English out-patient surgery exPray take a seat in the large room yon- bibits more noise and confusion, and less der. I passed out again, and waited work is done in the same time. As tbis three-quarters of an hour. All this time part of my report will conflict with many naines were being called over, and more of the statements published, I consider it people were pouring in. I had a singu. important to remind the reader that there Jarly favorable opportunity of observing is a vast difference between noise and conPasteur in the meantime, He is short, fusion. To an outsider a review ground, stont, and elderly, with nothing striking a printing office, a hospital, a large kitchin mnapner

or appearance ; he seemed en, and a factory will seem noisy and disworried, preoccupied, and busy; he is orderly, though an expert may be struck slightly lame, and his sight is bad, while, by the perfect order and amazing industry like most Frenchmen, according to my prevailing. A little practical knowledge experience of them, he is extremely re- would teach the visitor in Pasteur's rooms served. After a time, on the arrival of that underlying the bustle of activity real the physicians, I passed through the bar- work was being done, methodically, rier and the small room into a large inner promptly, and perfectly. one, where I found many people, quiet, Two or three of the very few dirty, orderly, animated, well-dressed throng, a shoeless people I saw during my stay in few patients, but the majority visitors or France were in the rooms of M. Pasteur, inquirers like myself. One or two assist- and they were not French. ants marshalled the patients and conducted All this time M. Pasteur was moving them to a medical man sitting in a chair ; about, briefly speaking to his assistants, to the doctor's left was a table, on wbich or addressing a couple of words to stranwere placed a dozen small vessels like gers. An inner room led out of the large custard glasses, containing the virus, a operating one, and there I found a sur. lamp, with a vessel of boiling water over the geon busily engaged dressing wounds, latter, and a few fine hypodermic syringes. some of them of great severity. He dexThe assistant received the syringe from the terously removed the dressings, put a little doctor, rapidly washed the needle in boil- powdered iodoform on the wounds, then ing water, filled the reservoir with virus, à pad of carbolized cotton wool, and a and handed it to the doctor, who very ex- little fine gutta-percha tissue, and finally pertly injected the contents under the skin

a gauze bandage over all.

Tbis man was of the patient's side. Why M. Pasteur large of person, cheerful of countenance, has selected the side of the patient as the and remarkably'rapid in his manipulations. right place for the injection is incompre- As the patients came up in larger numbers hensible to me; any part of the body he became more and more busy, and at would apparently do equally well; true, last he turned to me and said in a quick, M. Pasteur argues that the nearer the centre decisive way, Be good enough to dress of the circulation the better, but physiolog- some of these people ;'' so I set to work ically, I can see no advantage in this. The and attended to a few ; but how he operator having returned the empty sy- guessed I was a medical practitioner I canringe to the assistant, the patient passed not tell. ont through a door behind the surgeon.

There could be no doubt that a large It is hardly necessary to say that few of proportion of the patients had been bitten, the patients felt the prick of the needle, and some seriously ; a Russian lad had the operation is only a minor one, though had his right leg so severely lacerated, children were of course alarmed, and some that a certain proportion of deaths might cried and resisted. This might easily de- be expected in 500 such cases of injury. ceive a layman, although a medical man One of the accounts I have read throws would know how little was meant. The doubt on the bona fides of many of the

« VorigeDoorgaan »