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On the removal of Stains in Linen made by Nitrate of Silver. By W. B. HERAPATH, M. B. Lond., Bristol.-Medical praciitioners in the habit of using the nitrate of silver extensively, as a remedial agent, must have frequently heard loud complaints of their patients' linen having been indelibly stained and spoill, by some accident having occurred during its use; and in many cases, patients have refused to employ these preparations, in consequence of the extensive destruction of linen which they occasion. I have therefore very litile doubt that the following observations will prove most acceptable to my brother practitioners :

These dark stains consist of very finely divided metallic silver in intimate union with the fibres of the cloth. Had they been oxide of silver, any diluted acid would have dissolved them; but nitric acid alone produces any effect upon them, which of course cannot be employed on account of its powerfully destructive effects upon the linen fabric. Iodine immediately converts them into iodide of silver, which is instantly dissolved by a solution of hypo-sulphate of soda, and the cloth remains as white as when issued from the bleaching house, and as firm and durable as ever.

The best mode of employing the substance is to strain the spotted linen over a basin of hot water, and then to let fall upon each spot, previously moistened with water, a few drops of tincture of iodine, and instantly to pour a sufficient solution of the hypo-sulphate of soda to dissolve the iodide produced, and then immerse the spot in the water beneath, to wash out and cleanse the tissue, at once, from the stain and chemical reagents employed. The tincture of iodine of London Pharmacopeia strength is the one I employ; and one drachm of crystallized hypo-sulphate of soda, dissolved in two ounces of water, will make an excellent bleaching liquid.

A patient may thus be very readily taught the manner of removing an unpleasantness frequently attending the use of a most valuable remedy.- London Lancet.

The Philosopher's Stone the subject of a Patent in the Fourteenth Century.-In a work lately published on the law of patents, it is stated that in the time of Edward III. some alchymists persuaded the King that a philosopher's stone might be made, that the King granted a commission to two friars and two aldermen to inquire if it was feasible, who certified that it was, and that the King granted to the two aldermen a patent of privilege that they and their assigns should have the sole making of the philosopher's stone." This grant is believed to be the first, or at least the first patent privilege granied for any invention of which mention is made either in law books or chronicles, and is curious as showing the state of science in the fourteenth century.—London Med. Gaz.

THE

MEDICAL EXAMINER ,

AND

RECORD OF MEDICAL SCIENCE.

NEW SERIES.-No. XXX.-JUNE, 1847.

ORIGINAL COMMUNICATIONS.

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Sulphuric Ether in Surgical Operations. By JAMES BRYAN,

M. D., Lecturer on Surgery; formerly Professor of Surgery and Medical Jurisprudence, in Castleton Academy of Medicine, Ver

mont. To the Editor of the Medical Examiner.

Mrs. A—, a married lady, of delicate health and constitution, who had suffered for a long time from neuralgia and facial inflammations, caused by decayed teeth, consented to try the ether as administered by Mr. H. S. Porter, dentist, and one of my pupils. The inhalation was made from the instrument called the “Inhalus" of the patentees. About half an ounce of the ether was poured into the sponge, and the lady, seated in an arm chair, inhaled the vapour about five minutes, when she became languid and sleepy, and desired to be let alone. The instruments were applied, and three teeth (two incisors and one cuspid) were dexterously extracted ; the patient only raising her hand slowly, and drawing a deep sigh on the extraction of each tooth. The immediate effects of the ether continued about three or four minutes, when she expressed herself surprised that the teeth had been taken out.

Miss B-, on the 2d of April, inhaled the vapour from the same apparatus in my parlour, and after continuing the process about eight minutes, appeared partially insensible, and had a dens sapientiæ of the upper jaw extracted by the same operation, and said that she experienced no pain.

A few days after this, Mrs. A., the first patient, took the ether VOL. X:

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again, inhaling it about five minutes before the soporific effects were produced, when Mr. P. extracted two of the largest molars of the upper jaw, and the remaining cuspid of the same jaw. The lethean effect had passed off before the last tooth was extracted, and she said that she experienced considerable pain during the extraction, but much less than if no ether had been adninistered. A slight head ache, which may in part be attributed to previous illness, continued for four or five hours. On the 7th of April, Miss C—, from Massachusetts, in the

, presence of Dr. Winslow, myself, and members of the family in which she resided, submitted to the operation for extirpation of the left mamma, while under the influence of the ether. The inhalation, under the direction of Mr. Porter, continued about eight minutes, when I made two elliptical incisions, including the nipple, and took out the tumour in the usual manner. The disease being cancerous, a portion of the healthy part was included. ceeded, with the assistance of Dr. Winslow, to take up the arteries, when the patient inquired if there was any more cutting to be performed, seemingly unconscious that the tumour was removed. She declared, however, that she was conscious of each incision that was made, but felt no power to resist. The larger vessels were taken

. up, and the wound left partly dressed, that time might be allowed for reaction fairly to take place. Rather more than half an hour afterwards reaction did take place, and the vessels not taken up bled profusely, making it necessary to remove the dressings and carefully take up the most minute arteries. After this, the wound was properly dressed, and did very well, healing up almost entirely by the first intention.

Miss C. says, since she has reflected upon it, that she is sure the greatest part of the pain was avoided—very little, in fact, having been suffered. She was desirous of taking the ether while the arteries were being taken up, but I would not consent, being convinced that one effect of the ether was to diminish the action of the arterial system.

I send you these cases, sir, without comment. These—with one other case in which the patient insisted that the tooth had not been taken out, although the operation was slow and difficult--are all I have seen, and from these I am rather disposed to try it again in certain cases.

Case of Poisening, from swallowing Percussion Cups.—By T,

W. FOSTER, M. D., of Keene, Jessamin County, Ky. Not long since. I was called in great haste to attend an infant, æt. 14 months. Upon entering the room, I was informed by the parents that they had observed their child, about two hours previous to my visit, playing with a box of percussion caps, and they supposed she had swallowed some of them, as signs of acute suffering were exhibited soon after.

The little patient appeared to be sinking very fast. The eyes had a hollow, glazed appearance ; there was great heat in the epigastric region, and coldness of the extremities; there had been eight or nine discharges from the bowels in an hour, and her general aspect denoted approaching collapse. Before my arrival free emesis had been produced by some domestic remedy, yet I continued the vomiting by administering ipecac. and large

I draughts of warm water, (of which the patient greedily drank,) with the hope of discharging at least a portion of the offending matters. The discharges became so debilitating, however, that I threw up an injection of eight drops of laudanum, suspended in starch mucilage, and immediately afterward gave a large dose of calcined magnesia. An alkaline purgative was selected for the purpose of neutralizing any acid which might be found in the stomach or intestines, and ihus prevent any chemical change in the copper. In the course of an hour, the child became perfectly composed, and fell into a pleasant slumber, though it had previously suffered excuciating pain, attended with spasms. Dr. Spilman, the family physician, now took charge of the case, and applied counter-irritation to the abdomen, On the next day four caps were discovered in the fæcal matter, which were found to be devoid of their fulminating powder. The child is now enjoying very good health.

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES.

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Medical Botany; or Descriptions of the more important

Plants used in Medicine, with their History, Properties, and Mode of Administration. By R. EGLESFELD GRIFFITH, M. D., Member of the American Philosophical Society ; of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, &c., &c., [with a motto,] with upwards of three hundred illustrations.

svo. pp. 704. Philadelphia, 1847. Nlustrations of Medical Botany : consisting of coloured fiz.

ures of the plants affording the important articles of the Materia Medica, and descriptive letterpress. By JOSEPH CARSON, M. D., Professor of Materia Medica in the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy; Member of the American Philosophical Society; of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia ; Fellow of the College of Physicians, &c. The drawings on stone by J. H. Colen. Vol. 1, Fol. pp. 28. Twenty Illustrations. Philadelphia, 1847.

What a change has occurred in the mode in which scientific subjects are taught in the schools at the present day from that which was common twenty or thirty years ago! Dry descriptions unaided by graphic illustrations are now uncommon, and the teaching, in any department of science, which does not ad. dress the eye as well as the ear, is properly deemed imperfect. Every thing is now rendered as demonstrable and demonstrative as possible, and it may be safely said, that the medical student has now much greater facilities for obtaining a due insight into an intricate branch of science than he had formerly. Nor ought this to be forgotten when an estimate is made of the present condition of medical education as compared with the past.

Of botanical works treating of general and medical botany, and illustrated by wood-cuts or copperplates, we have had numerous examples. Some of the oldest herbuls" are of this character, and in modern times excellent treatises have appeared, both in Europe and in this country, on medical botany more

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