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liable to exceptions. The honourable character your Journal sustains, is a guarantee that the anonymous observations admitted into it, proceed from that spirit of wisdom by which the benefit of society is promoted. In p. 126 of your last Number, the objections of your correspondent display the benevolent dispositions and candour of the writer. It is highly proper, therefore, to attempt giving the information, and to renew the inquiry, which your correspondent desires.
And as several authors who give the size and weight of the foetus at different periods, are inconsistent in their statements, it is necessary, in the first place, to consider the marks afforded on this subject by the catamenial discharge, since these inconsistencies must arise from some mistake.
When the periodical appearance of this discharge returns during the influence of healthy functions, the proof that the uterus is not impregnated is satisfactory; and when the health is good, the stoppage of this discharge is a strong proof of pregnancy.
Along with turgescent feelings in the mammae, and sensations of a nature peculiar to the pregnant state, the stoppage alluded to is the only mark on which mothers can rely. Hence, if a medical man be not consulted till two, three, or more months have elapsed, it is obvious that he has no other grounds by which to discover the exact term of gestation in such instances, but what he derives from the mother's history, her assertions, On this her be appearance, and her former habits of exactness. account it is easy to understand how an accoucheur may sometimes deceived, and how the tables of foetal dimensions may often be erroneous.
With respect to the mother of the child in question, she is tall, robust, and healthy, and was never subject to those irregular affections which derange such calculations; and besides, her knowledge of the time of her former gestations was particularly accurate. At every new interrogation she is consistent, and modestly evasive, though her reasons are decisive; and she does not hesitate to affirm, that the period of gestation already mentioned was rather within the 19 weeks, as has been stated.
But there are other occurrences which tend to corroborate what she affirms.
Every accoucheur must have observed that the weight and length of children born at the full time are variable; but especially the weight. On looking into my journal of newly born children come to the full time, I find it stated that one child weighed fifteen pounds, while the weight of others was irregularly less. In whatever way it may be explained, this variation
of weight is undeniable; and it is no stretch of propriety perhaps to grant, that according to the constitution, circumstances, and health of the mother, one foetus at a given period differs proportionally from another fœtus at the same period.
If it be probable that a tall, robust, and healthy female, in the vigour of life, shall have children of greater dimensions and weight, than one who is little, delicate, and unhealthy, it is equally probable that statements should contain the characteristic descriptions of the mothers before they be accounted conclusive in their proportions of the foetus. By allowing that such statements are defective in this respect, the defects will be excusable; and the knowledge of the mother, whose opinion is the point at issue, will be admissible.
My motive in making her son's case known, was a wish to check those unqualified assertions which are too commonly heard, that a child born at certain premature periods cannot live; such as at the sixth month, &c. And if professional men encourage this opinion, what can be expected from those that are not of the profession?
Assertions of this nature have undoubtedly led to the death of premature infants in many instances. They seem not only to be useless, but to supersede the exertions which might save the children; and become grounds of excuse for heedless treatment, by which they are exposed to destruction. Death would have been the speedy fate of this child in the same way, had I not opposed this assertion at his birth, and by insisting that it was possible he might live, prompted the activity of all the necessary
The necessity of allowing no improper delay in these circumstances is obvious. But although I measured him at birth, and thought his length within eleven inches, I was not satisfied with its accuracy. His safety, then, was more important than the indulgence of curiosity; and there was no time, with safety in view, for accurate measurement. If his length was eleven inches at that time, he must have grown two inches longer the first three weeks.
I have a slender patient who has been long unhealthy. She has born eleven children, and the last seven were premature births. The first of the seven was born about the eighth month, and lived nine weeks; the second was born rather earlier, and died in the woman's hands while she was washing it; the third lived eight hours, the fourth eight days, and the fifth fourteen days. I find it mentioned in my Journal that the mother reckoned herself six months and two weeks gone of this child, who was a female, and whose length was seventeen inches. The sixth
lived a week, and the seventh died in the birth. Now it is necessary to state, although they were all born during cold weather, that the children who lived longest were those on whom the greatest care was bestowed; and in each instance it was af firmed to be impossible that any of them could live.
The little gentleman who has given rise to these remarks is still healthy. He became fretful three weeks ago, and would not sleep, but cried for two nights. The same cotton wool which covered his head had been too long used-new wool was put into its place and he soon got drowsy-since which he has sleeped at the usual times-his crying has ceased, and he has continued well.
Paisley, January 12, 1816.
CLASSIFICATION OF DISEASES,
By DAVID HOSACK, M. D. Professor of the Theory and Practice of Physic and Clinical Medicine in the University of New-York. Communicated by Dr FRANCIS.
(In this Class Dr Willan's arrangement of cutaneous diseases is adopted.)
123. Syncope. 124. Dyspepsia. 125. Pyrosis. 126, Bulimia.
180. Tetanus. 131. Trismus. 132. Neuralgia. 133. Convulsio. 134. Chorea. 135. Epilepsia.
144. Melancholia. 145. Hypochondriasis.
a. In functionibus Animalibus, b. In functionibus Vitalibus. 136. Angina Pectoris.
c. In functionibus Naturalibus.
In a few days will be published, in one octavo volume, an Account of a Visit to London, in the year 1814; wherein, is exhibited a comparative View of English and French Surgery; together with some Observations on the London Hospitals. Translated from the French of J. P. Roux, Professor of Anatomy and Surgery at Paris.
Nearly ready for publication, the Second Part of Orfila's System of Animal, Mineral, and Vegetable Poisons. This will complete the First Volume of the work The two remaining parts will appear in the course of the ensuing spring.
Just ready for publication, in one duodecimo volume, Cullen's Practice of Physic in Fevers, Inflammations, &c.; with all the Discoveries made since his time by the most eminent Practitioners in Medicine.
Communications have been received from Dr BRIGGS, Liverpool, Machaon; Mr BARLOW, Blackburn, Lancashire; Mr. ALLAN, Mr CRAWFORD, &c. The Reviews of Mr HODGSON on Diseased Arteries, and of Dr AINSLIE'S Materia Medica of Hindoostan, will appear in our next Number.
No. XLVII. will be Published on the 1st of July 1816.