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appointments on committees, among the most important to a nation's interest, says: "This mode of distinguishing Consumption at an earlier period than by any other means, has been actually proved."
The British and Foreign Medical Review, while edited by Dr. Forbes; and which has been conducted with such signal ability for the last quarter of a century, that it is now circulated in every part of the globe, says: "We have no hesitation in recording our deliberate opinion that this is one of the most valuable contributions to physiological science that we have met with for some time."
I consider the stethescope and percussion as mere toys, which do well enough to excite the wonder of the credulous. I must confess they never gave me any satisfaction, I never could learn anything by them. It may be different with others, but I believe that the ear laid upon the patient's breast, with nothing intervening but a single thickness of the inner garment, stretched without a wrinkle and laid smoothly on the skin, is immea surably preferable to any stethescope ever invented, it tells us more certainly and in louder tones by far, all that stethescopy and percussion pretend to, and in a more simple and natural manner. In all cases I use the ear directly, to ascertain the more prominent sounds, but the stethescope and percussion never; nor do I place any dependence on the eye, nor the moving of the extended hand over the chest. In forming an opinion in a case of Consumption, the main foundations are,
1st, The condition of the pulse.
2d, The degree of the emaciation.
3rd, The measurement of the lungs.
4th, The sounds given to the ear when it is laid on the patient's breast, while standing; or back when stooping forward ; a single thickness only intervening of the inner garment stretched smoothly over the skin.
Cough, spitting of blood, and expectoration, I consider, of themselves, of little consequence, for the simple reason that they cannot be relied upon, until too late a stage in the progress of the disease. No one pretends that either of them has an invariable cause, an invariable effect, or an invariable tendency, therefore, by themselves, they are symptoms of little value. In reference to this new method of determining the early existence of Consumptive disease, the London Lancet says: "It is proven by actual experiment, that a man's lungs, found after death to have been tuberculated to the extent of one cubic inch, had been by that amount of tubercularization controlled in their action to the extent of more than forty inches." It is very apparent then, that this mode of examination detects the presence of tubercles in their earliest formation, which is in fact the only time to attack Consumption successfully and surely ; and when attempted at the early stage, before it is at all fixed in the system, the certainty of success in warding off the danger, of curing the disease, is as great as that of warding off the cholera or perfectly curing it, if attempted at the first appearance of the premonitory symptoms; and as when cholera is present in a community, every person who has three or more passages from the bowels within twenty-four hours, ought to be considered as attacked with cholera, and should act accordingly, so when a man has tubercles in his lungs to the extent of impairing their functions for a dozen inches, that is, when his lungs do not (with other symptoms) hold enough air by a dozen inches, he should consider himself as having Consumption, and should act accordingly and with the assurance that in four cases out of five, human life would be saved by it. And as thousands have died with cholera by hoping they did not have it, or denying they had it, although warned by the usual symptoms of its commencement, until its existence was so apparent to the commonest observer as to render a hope of cure impossible, so precisely is it in Consumption ; people will not take warning by the symptoms in their own persons, which have in thousands of others terminated in certain death, but go on day after day without reason, hoping that the symptoms will go away of themselves, and steadily deny that they have the disease, until remedy is hopeless. If, then, a man should take the alarm, as soon as he perceives that he is habitually consuming a less amount of air at each act of breathing than he ought to do, whatever may be the cause of it, so on the other hand, if he finds, on examination, that his lungs contain fully as much air as the system requires, then is it beyond all question, that all his lungs are within him, in healthful action, and therefore must be perfectly free from Consumptive disease; that whatever else may be the matter with him, it most evidently is not Consumption.
THE MANNER OF DYING.
It has been elsewhere remarked, that when persons die of consumption, it is not from the amount of lung substance actually destroyed, because many persons have been known to live for years with an amount of lungs only equal to one-third of the whole, while from actual inspection of the lungs after death from phthisis, seldom as much as one-third of them have decayed away. The more immediate cause of death therefore in consumption is inanition, wasting away, inability of the glandular system to derive sufficient nourishment from the food eaten, or from the want of a more direct control over the disorder of some more critical part or function of the system. Every thing, every part wastes away but the brain, that maintains its integrity, with but few exceptions to the very last effort of expiring nature. Hence, however much the consumptive may suffer in other respects, he has at least this satisfaction, that in the last earthly conflict, he will have his senses fully about him. When persons die from other diseases, the senses die one by one, the sight first, then the smell, the taste, the speech, the touch, and last of all the hearing, hence no whisper should ever be uttered in the chamber of death, except it is intended for the dying, for the softest voice in the most distant corner is conveyed in loudening tones to the departing, and for an equally good reason, should all loud words be avoided, because they grate painfully on the increased sensibility of the ear. While in other diseases, the senses die one by one, in consumption they all pass away together, (except the sight, which goes first) and at the last moment. The reason that consumptives maintain their senses to the last is, that the brain is the last part of the human body that feels the effect of inanition, of starvation. The incident given on page 72, illustrates this fact; there are, it is true, circumstances which may modify this explanation, as there are but few statements which apply universally.
In the following list of the dying words of the distinguished dead, are confirmations of the general principle laid down.
f "Head of the army."—-Napoleon.
"L'Isle D'elbe, Napoleon."—Josephine.
"I must sleep now."—Byron.
"It matters little how the head lieth."—Sir W. Raleigh.
"Kiss me, Hardy."—Lord Nelson.
"Don't give up the ship."—Lawrence.
"I'm shot if I don't believe I'm dying."—Chancellor Thurlow.
"Is this your fidelity ?"—Nero.
"Clasp my hand, my dear friend, I die."—Alfieri.
"Give Dayroles a chair."—Lord Chesterfield.
"God preserve the Emperor."—Hayden.
"The artery ceases to beat."—Haller.
"Let the light enter."—Goethe.
"All my possessions for a moment of time."—Queen Elizabeth.
"What! is there no bribing death."—Cardinal Beaufort.
"I have loved God, my father, and liberty."—Madam De Stael.
"Into thy hands, O Lord."—Tasso.
"It is small, very small indeed," (clasping her neck). —Anne Boleyn.
"I pray you, see me safe up, and for my coming down, let me shift for myself," (ascending the scaffold). —Sir Thomas Moore.
"Don't let that awkward squad fire over my grave." —Robt. Burns. *
"I feel as if I were to be myself again."—Sir Walter Scott.
"I resign my soul to God, and my daughter to my country."—Jefferson.