Excerpt from The Journal of Balneology and Climatology, Vol. 4: Being the Quarterly Journal of the British Balneological and Climatological Society; 1900
The next great improvement to which I shall refer, which may be considered Of even greater importance than the intro duction of anaesthetics, is that use of various antiseptics, which has revolutionised the whole science of surgery, and laid the foundation Of new treatment both in medicine and surgery. Like all innovations this was not readily received by the bulk Of the profession, and as lately as 1884 my friend, one Of the surgeons at the hotel Dieu, in Paris, took me round his wards and tried to impress upon me that his success was quite as great by using a weak solution Of alcohol in dressing wounds as was Obtained by others with carbolic acid and other powerful anti septics. Still, it was surprising how much could be accomplished before their introduction. I can recall two unusual cases which occurred within a month Of each other - they were almost identical in character, the abdomen in both cases having been ripped up from the pubes to the ensiform cartilage with a sailor's knife. The first case was this - a Chinaman recovering from a long illness had offended his fellow lodger by his persistent groans. The latter promised himself vengeance as soon as the patient was able to be out. The second case occurred in the gaol in Hong Kong; the European prisoners had been paraded for my inspection, one man whistled very low, but sufficient to annoy the man next to him, and refusing to cease, was attacked with the result I have described, almost immediately before my arrival. In the former case, with the assistance of the turnkeys, I was able to replace the organs, none Of which had fortunately been injured, and suture the wound with silver wire, without any antiseptic precautions, which were, indeed, then unknown. Both cases made a perfect recovery, the Chinaman, indeed, appearing in court within the month to prosecute his assailant, although, at first, the prognosis was so bad that the supposed dying man's deposition was taken in each case.
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