Editor Detroit Medical Journal:
In the September number of your excellent
periodical you make reference to the demise of the late President
McKinley; and in this editorial there is much that commends itself.
In the experiences of hundreds of
medical men (including those of myself covering a period of twenty-seven
years), cases crop up where the aid, suggestions, and encouragement
of a trustworthy consultant are of value, both to the patient and
the attending physician; and on the other hand, are there not occasions
when too many advisors, or even one who is adverse, not alone lessens
confidence in the one most competent to judge the case (viz., the
regular attendant), but likewise handicaps the chances of the invalid?
I have no use for the silliness exhibited
in parading the name of a nurse who, for convenience, happens to
be called to assist either at an operation or for the after attendance.
It had never occurred to me that a particular nurse was selected
owing to special fitness in the McKinley case, since any nurse,
trained in the hospitals of either the United States or the Dominion,
who possesses head and hands, would do all that was necessary. Indeed,
I am old fogy enough to believe that any intelligent person, in
the ordinary home, can carry out the instructions of the medical
attendant in the matter of “after-treatment.”
Perhaps I am “behind the times,” but
I cannot help thinking there is something farcial [sic] in
having a nurse, at fifteen or twenty dollars a week, to run the
thermometer under the tongue every two or three hours and jot down
the result, along with the exact moment the bladder contracts, etc.,
etc. In ninety per cent. of the cases what does it all amount to;
if the temperature is 100°, then 100.2°, then 100.1°, what are you
going to do about it?
In the editorial referred to I am
sorry that the words occur “left to the rule-of-thumb care of an
alien, trained attendant.”
Now, I think this is wrong; and really
the editor, in justice to himself, ought to apologize for this reflection
on the attainments of the individual; and also for the slur upon
those whom the word “alien” evidently points to—I mean Canadians.
If this nurse was an alien by reason of birth, her training
was received in the land of her adoption, so that the contemptuous
term “rule-of-thumb” insults the authorities of at least one institution
for the training of nurses in the land south of the International
Boundary. I hope the Detroit Medical Journal will straighten this
matter in fairness to its readers.