Source: Detroit Medical Journal
Source type: journal
Document type: letter to the editor
Document title: none
Date of publication: October 1901
Volume number: 1
Issue number: 7
|[untitled]. Detroit Medical Journal Oct. 1901 v1n7: p. 205.|
|William McKinley (medical care); William McKinley (medical care: criticism: personal response).|
Click here to see the editorial this letter to the editor was written in response to.
Both this one (below) and a subsequent letter to the editor (p. 206) appear under the collective heading “Anent That McKinley Editorial.”
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.