Transactions of 4th Meeting of AR State Medical Society (1879)

Notes, Primary Sources, Thesis Research

Transactions of the State Medical Society of Arkansas at its Fourth Annual Session (Little Rock: Blocher & Mitchell, 1879).

Much discussion about standardizing stuff for the purpose of professional cohesion (should by-laws of county medical societies all be the same?).

List of transactions from medical societies received by the librarian; NJ, VA, MA, KS, IO, MN, NC, CO, RI, PA, FL, WI, GA, CA, ME, NH, DC, MI (Board of Health), Rochester NY (health officer), WI (Board of Health), & GA (Board of Health). (19)

Expresses anxieties about the lack of government legislation concerning the health of AR’s population, specifically the absence of a legal designation between licensed doctor and quack/charlatan. Because states around have enacted these types of laws, many quacks flock to AR. (34)

“Our state… occupying, as it does, one of the most favored localities of any of the states, so far as climate and natural advantages…” is still behind most of her surrounding “sister-states.”
Many rivers make the state well-drained, and the NW portion is elevated, having “all the advantages that “…any upland and mountainous country can possess; the finest springs and small streams… They have here the health generally found in the most elevated and mountainous district of the earth.”(38)

“None of the scientific communications were included in the minutes, for the simple reason that there was not sufficient money in the hands of the Treasurer to pay for the publication.” (41) Dammit.


Dr. Lincithum, of the committee on State Board of Health

Seems very disillusioned with the lack of success the profession has had in getting any sort of medical legislation passed. Blames the infighting and lack of unity within the profession.

“State medicine in Arkansas as a result [of inter-professional conflict], is at a low ebb with the medical profession abroad; looked upon with distrust, as narrow minded, and losing sight of the public good, in our individual efforts at aggrandizement.” (45)


Report of the Committee on Vital Statistics

A mild winter never quite cleansed the air of the summer’s miasmas, which may have contributed to the outbreak.

Discussion of quarantine measures taken against Memphis and New Orleans in the 1878 Yellow Fever outbreak. No state Board of Health meant that individual city health boards had to coordinate — which they did.

Relatively detailed tables of deaths in Little Rock; divided up by cause of death, gender, race (colored and white), and age.

“It will also be manifest by an examination of the table that there was an increased mortality among the colored people in the Winter and Spring months. This is attributed to their careless exposure of person in all conditions of weather, and their idle, thriftless habits in not providing themselves prior to inclement winter months.” (55) “The number of still-born reported among the colored population is mainly due to the ignorance of their midwifes [sic].”


Clinical Study in Etiology of Pneumonia by J. S. Shibley, M.D. (Roseville, Logan County)

Good example of a changing emphasis on preventative over heroic medicine. Author takes all of the cases of pneumonia he and another practitioner have seen in the past six years and breaks them down by sex, age, race, occupation, shelter, clothing, food, month, previous health, and result (57-58).

Mentions climate a lot, asserting that pneumonia is a much bigger problem in the south.

Therapeutic nihilism: “I doubt not that much of the mortality of Pneumonia, as I have seen it, has been due to the influence which this false theory still exerts over the minds of physicians and patients, leading the former to adopt spoliative [to take away, ie., purgatives, bloodletting, etc.!] measures with a view of combatting the inflammatory process, and preventing the latter from taking food for fear of increasing it. May we not hope that the time is close at hand, when physicians will cast away their theories and conform their reasoning to facts, and thus place the treatment of the sick on a rational and scientific basis?” (61-62)

Asserts that it may arise in combination with malaria. How to prevent it? “…the removal or avoidance of its causes.” (62)


“A Few Suggestion on Preventative Medicine and the Germ Theory of the Causation of Disease,” by E. Bentley, M.D., United States Army

“The earth calls aloud for preventative medicine…”(69)

Makes reference to “the progressive men of our profession in Europe,” Pasteur, Lemar, Lister (antiseptic treatment), J. Burden Sanderson,

“In the light of present discoveries, no one can doubt that in the chemistry and microscopy of the air and water, will be found the development of marvelous agencies that sweep with appalling fury among all classes and races of men… This field is so wide and inviting, that I invoke the special attention of the faculty of the State everywhere, to spend each leisure moment in the investigation of that branch of preventative medicine that pertains to air and water.” (71)


List of Members of State Medical Society of Arkansas

Breakdown of training by state:
NE Coast –
Maryland (10); New York (11); Pennsylvania (27); Maine (2)

SE Coast –
South Carolina (5); Virginia (6); Florida (1)

South –
Louisiana (30); Georgia (5)

Upper Midwest –
Michigan (4); Ohio (9); Iowa (2); Indiana (1); Kentucky (49)

Lower Midwest –
Missouri (23); Tennessee (25)

Canada (1)
L. I. H. Medical College (2)

Total = 213 members/none practicing in Carroll County, Eureka Springs

Health & Water in the Middle Ages

Papers

Health and Water in the Middle Ages: A Historiographical Survey

            As a requirement for life, water has enjoyed an interactive relationship with humanity through the ages, and this is no less true of the medieval era this survey will cover from about the ninth-century to the fifteenth AD. Because of its cleansing properties, symbolic associations, and the importance it is given in the Hippocratic and Galenic corpus, water has also often been associated with health — both as a healing agent itself and as a factor in the maintenance of the all-important equilibrium of the living body. It should come as a surprise, then, that the Anglophonic scholarship surrounding water and its role in medieval health can be best characterized as embryonic and fragmented, and certainly as lacking a developed methodological discourse or unity of approach.[1] Although calls have been made since the early twentieth-century for a more systematic analysis of medieval cleanliness, usage of and beliefs about water, and relationship with bathing and bathhouses, most scholars continue to focus on the early modern and modern periods.[2]