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MEDICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL INTELLIGENCE.
FOR THE ECLECTIC REPERTORY.
The Editors are pleased to have it in their power to lay before their readers,
the following interesting Communication from Dr. Physick, which has just been handed to them. Had it been sooner received it would have occupied a more appropriate place in this Number.
HAVING repeatedly experienced considerable delay in the healing of wounds from ligatures applied on divided arteries remaining a long time in the sore before they could be removed, I have for many years been very desirous of avoiding such an inconvenience in the use of ligatures. With this view, the first idea that occurred was that of drawing the ligature tight on the vessel by the assistance of a double canula: unfortunately, the first patient on whom it was employed for securing the femoral artery, died of tetanus; and though I by no means believe the disease to have been occasioned by the instrument, yet the event discouraged from further trials of it.
Several years ago, recollecting how completely leather straps, spread with adhesive plaster, and applied over wounds for the purpose of keeping their sides in contact, were dissolved by the fluids discharged from the wound, it appeared to me that ligatures might be made of leather, or of some other animal substance, with which the sides of a blood-vessel could be compressed for a sufficient time to prevent hemorrhage; that such ligatures would be dissolved after a few days, and would
a be evacuated with the discharge from the cavity of the wound.
Under this impression, I requested Dr. Dorsey to try the experiment on a horse, by using a ligature of buckskin. This was found to answer every purpose, and came away in a few days.
This fact was mentioned at the time to several of my medi. cal acquaintance; and I understand that Dr. Hartshorne has lately tied up some of the arteries after amputating the thigh, with ligatures of parchment. They were found dissolved at the first dressing. Dr. Dorsey, in several operations, in which I have assisted, has used ligatures of French kid, which he finds stronger than any other leather. He has it cut into narrow strips, stretches them and peels off the coloured polished surface. No hemorrhage has taken place in any instance, and the ligatures are found dissolved at the end of two or three days.
With the view of ascertaining what animal substance would withstand the solvent power of pus for the longest time, I suggested the plan of trying different articles, by applying them over the surfaces of ulcers. Buckskin, kid, parchment, and catgut, have been tried in this way. The buckskin and kid dissolved first; then the parchment; when at the same time the catgut was but little changed. From an apprehension that in tying large blood-vessels the leather might dissolve too soon, I have requested Dr. Dorsey, to try leather impregnated with the varnish used by Mr. Bishop of this city, in making elastic catheters; in the hope that when so prepared it will be somewhat more durable. Perhaps tendon would be found to answer the purpose. Future experiments will probably place at the command of the surgeon a variety of these ligatures, which may be so selected as to remain the exact length of time he may require.
This hasty notice on the subject is given, because it is thought important that these facts should be made public without delay.
P.S. PHYSICK. Philadelphia, July 9, 1816.
FOR THE ECLECTIC REPERTORY.
A STONE was extracted from the bladder of a patient in the Pennsylvania Hospital on the 8th July, by Dr. Dorsey, which was found to have concreted round a mass of lead an inch in length and nearly half an inch in width. This singular nucleus consists of two laminæ of thick sheet lead, weighing two drachms
and thirty-eight grains. The patient, an intelligent man, declared himself unable to imaginc any way in which it could have reached his bladder. Its size and irregular shape would certainly render it difficult to introduce it through the urethra; and yet scarcely a doubt can exist that it originally entered by that passage. The stone was soft and not unusually large.
FOR THE ECLECTIC REPERTORY.
Upas Tree. The following extract from the Diary of an intelligent fellow-citizen will
be read with interest, as the accuracy of the relation may be relied on; and it is only by actual and unprejudiced observation, that the true nature of this wonderful production will be rightly understood.
In the morning we rode out to see the Upas Tree, with the sap of which the Malays poison their weapons. It is about three miles from the town of Balawangie or Balemboang, on the south-east end of the island of Java, and is much loftier than the tallest Lombardy poplar; the branches begin to grow from the trunk like the palm tree, at a considerable distance from the ground. I had an opportunity of proving, by ocular demonstration, that the accounts which we have had of its destroying the vegetation and killing any birds that may fly over it, are totally without foundation. I was myself under the tree a considerable time, rubbed my hand over the trunk, and saw birds fly on and off without any injury. The vegetation around it is remarkably luxuriant, extending to the very root of the tree.
The poison is extracted by making an incision in the trunk and catching the sap in a bamboo, and that it is deadly in the extreme I had an opportunity of proving. A bamboo, sharpened into the size and shape of the blade of a small penknife, was dipped in the sap and stuck in the leg of a dog, tied by a long string to a tree; in five minutes he began to be very much agitated; in ten he was in strong convulsions; in sixteen he
was raving mad, frothed at the mouth, and appeared in the greatest agony; this lasted about five minutes, when he sunk down exhausted: he lay a few moments apparently dead, when he again sprung up raving mad, foaming at the mouth for a minute or two, when he gave a yell and expired.
The tree was covered with numerous incisions, where the Javanese had been extracting the poison. There are but two of these trees on the island, one about one hundred miles from Batavia, and the one above mentioned. There are two kinds of the Upas Poison; the one, it is said, only affects quadrupeds and does not injure fowls of any kind, and the other vice versa.
Extract from Diary, October 10th, 1815..
An Ordinance providing for the gratuitous Vaccination of
Persons in indigent circumstances. WHEREAS it hath been sufficiently established, that VacCINE VIRUS, when effectually communicated to the human system, is a preventive of SMALL POX, and it being a duty to contribute to the extension of this distinguished blessingTherefore,
Sect. 1. Be it ordained and enacted by the Citizens of Philadelphia, in Select and Common Councils assembled: That the City shall be divided into four districts, as follows, viz. East and West by the centre of Delaware Eighth street, and North and South by the centre of High street.
Sect. 2. And be it further ordained and enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the Mayor be, and is hereby authorized, immediately after the passing of this act, and annually hereafter in the month of January, to appoint one qualified person for each of the said Districts, whose duty it shall be to call upon each and every family resident within his District, and inquire of every such family, whether any, and if any, what members thereof may be liable to Small Pox disease: and if it be found that any person should be so liable, being in
indigent circumstances and unable to defray the expense, to offer the services of the Physicians of the Corporation to Vaccinate such gratuitously, and if the said offer be accepted, the Collector of cases shall proceed to record the number of the house, and the name or names of such persons, in a Book, alphabetically arranged, to be provided and kept for that pur
Sect. 3. And be it further ordained and enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the collector of cases shall, at least once in each week, make two fair transcripts of the names and residence of the persons entered in his original Book of Record during that time; one of which copies shall be filed in the Of. fice of the City Clerk, and the other furnished to the Physician appointed to have charge of the District to which the said Collector shall belong.
Sect. 4. And be it further ordained and enacted by the authority aforesaid, That for the services required to be performed by the Collectors, in virtue of this Ordinance, they shall, for every case procured to be vaccinated by them, be paid the sum of ten cents; and upon their quarterly presentation of their accounts to the Mayor, certified by the City Clerk, that the number of cases charged therein are filed in his Office, he shall draw his warrant on the Treasurer, directing, for the present year, that the same be charged to account of any Monies in the Treasury, not otherwise appropriated, and for every year hereafter, to such fund as Councils may assign for that purpose.
Sect. 5. And be it further ordained and enacted by the authority aforesaid, That immediately after the passing of this Ordinance, and annually hereafter in the month of January, the Mayor be, and he is hereby authorized, to appoint four respectable Physicians, who shall have conferred on them, Degrees of Doctor in Medicine in the University of Pennsylvania; and assign one of the said Physicians to each of the Districts erected by the first section of this Ordinance, whose duty it shall be, upon receiving the List of cases furnished by the Collector, to Vaccinate each and every person so reported to him, at their respective places of abode, and continue to visit every such patient as often as may be necessary to enable him to asVOL. VI.