12 JUNE 1875, Page 14


rro THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR.") letter on the above subject in your issue of May 29, seems greatly to have troubled the Editor of the British Medical Journal, for in his issue last week he devotes an editorial to the subject, in which he upbraids me, condemns my statements, and furnishes some explanations which only serve to show that, before he again attempts to play the oracle in experimental physiology, he had better first learn the alphabet of the language he pretends to teach.

To assert that there is anything satisfactory in the knowledge "that failure of respiration and failure of the heart indicate the line which separates insensibility from death," is a bold assump- tion. They do not indicate a line, but are merely symptoms which, as in all other cases of death, denote that the line has been passed; but with chloroform, we never know that it has been passed until it is too late.

To assert further that what I have stated of the insecurity of

-chloroform may be true of my knowledge, but not of our knowledge, is an amazing statement, in the face of the correspondence now going on in the pages of the Journal, where even the defender of chloroform acknowledges that "out of hundreds whom he had witnessed administering chloroform in Edinburgh, London, Liver- pool, and elsewhere, there are not six from whom he would take it." Moreover, in his previous issue there are two pages, Nos. 703 and 704, occupied with opinions and quotations, all of which are much more condemnatory of the insecurity of chloroform -than mine were. Nor could he have done worse than offer Pro- fessor Schiff as an authority upon this subject as regards the lower animals. Why, only a fortnight ago, at page 683, we have the following statement from the editor's own pen :—" Professor Schiff affirms that, in the present state of science, there are no means -which will show us how to recognise, so as to prevent them, the tendencies which may cause death in some animals, after the first inhalations of chloroform, before having produced true antesth esia." -Could a more complete corroboration of my statements be given in fewer words ?

Need I refer further to p. 274 of the "Handbook" to what Dr. Burdon Sanderson says of "the inhalation of chloroform, which is so apt to be fatal to rabbits?" I would also refer to page 468, to what Dr. Brunton says of the care required in administering chloroform to a dog "that the sponge does not come in contact with the muzzle," &c., merely by way of exposing the ignorance -of the writer, who recommends "a few drops of chloroform poured an a piece of lint thrown loosely over the animal's nose." He is quite as rash and wrong when, referring to dogs, cats, and rabbits, he says, "Nor is there any difficulty in keeping up the anmstliefla for an unlimited time, as Dr. Hoggan asserts." For all answer to this, I quote Professor Claude Bernard in the "Revue des Cows Scientifiques," Vol. VI., p. 263, when, after baying shown a dog placed under chloroform to the audience, he -adds :—" Cats, and above all, rabbits, are much more sensitive than dogs to the action of chloroform, and we could not, without danger of death, leave them exposed to its action for nearly so

long as we have left this dog Rats are even more sensitive to its action. Birds still more."

I only mentioned morphia, &c., to remark that their action was similar to that on the human being, but our editor, not being able to contradict this statement, supplements it by saying that with -opium, morphia, &c., "complete anmsthesia is induced by physio- logists in the animals on which they experiment, the antesthesia produced by them being quite as perfect as that of chloroform." On this point, again, allow me to quote Claude Bernard, P. 446, ibid., as to the physiological action of these substances :— -" Morphia is not an ana3sthetic, but a narcotic (stupdfiant). When it has taken effect on a dog, he does not seek to escape ; be has lost the knowledge of where he is ; he no longer notices his master. Nevertheless, sensibility persists, for if we pinch the animal, he moves and cries. At the same time, you see that morphia plunges dogs into a state of immobility which permits us to place them on an experimenting-trough without tying or muzzling them." To all this allow me to add a fact from my own experience. I have seen dozens of rabbits experimented upon, and I have never seen any anmathetic or narcotic given in -any case whatever, but I have often seen curare given. True, this was in foreign laboratories, but the experimenters were men of different nationalities, acting on their own responsibility. Moreover, let it clearly be understood that although there may be a difference in the nationality of laboratories, there must be none in the repetition of experiments in vivisection, as the con- firmation of results depends on the published details being faith- fully carried out in all their integrity. Difference of country makes no difference in the sentient nature of the animal, in the effects of the drugs, or details of the processes. Vivisections are, therefore, necessarily the same all the world over, and our best experimental physiologists go over to get their training in foreign schools. That they do not depart from that training one may be convinced by reading the works _subsequently published by them. This brings me to where our editor tells us that "complete antesthesia is usually in- duced by physiologists, as any one may see, by simply taking the trouble to read the published records of their experiments." I take his advice, and find at pages 312, 212, 309, 298, 271, 242, &c., of the "Handbook" records of most painful experiments on rabbits, cats, and dogs—recommended, too, for repetition—and in which there is no mention of antesthetics, although I see no rea- son why they might not be given in most of the experiments. Again, at pages 241, 278, 245, 238, 334, &c., are details of painful experiments, where curare alone is given, without any

antesthetic. So that without referring to any other book, his advice has been fruitful in a sense he never intended.

The description of an American laboratory, quoted before by Mr. Ernest Hart in the Times and now repeated, is to me not nearly so expressive a token of the state of experimental physiology in America as is the grim burlesque on the story of the Good Samaritan that was played off on poor ferrierised Mary Rafferty in the Hospital of the Good Samaritan at Cincinnati. By the side of the details of these experiments Dr. Dalton's description becomes pale. The final statement in the Journal, that I have made myself the accuser of my profession, is also contrary to fact. Not only in my letter to the Echo of February 5th, and article in Fraser for April, have I kept my professional brethren clear of this matter, but also in the letter upon which the charge is founded I at one sweep strike off 95 per cent. of medical men, as knowing little or nothing about the general practices in vivisection. I have not blamed even the remaining 5 per cent., who certainly do not constitute the profession.

Is there no misrepresentation of the profession in the fact that the published organ of the British Medical Association is made the champion of unrestricted vivisection ? Many of the members of that association, like myself, wish to see vivisection reduced to its lowest possible limits, yet by this action of the editor, our represen- tative organ is made to misrepresent us.—I am, Sir, 81c.,

13 Granville Place, Portman Square. GEORGE HOGOAR.