A HINT FOR THE ANATOMY BILL.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE SPECTATOR.
Gloucester, ‘2d January 1532.
is an universal exclamation, that "something must be done on the subject of dissection '." yet all agree with the Lord Chancellor, that it is a matter of very great difficulty tolegislate upon. I strongly suspect that this arises from our ideas in regard to it having been directed into a wrong channeL Neither Mr. WA RBU RTON'S last bill nor his present one are at all calculated to meet the evil,—indeed, the present bill seems so utterly insufficient, that it must be brought forward merely to gain time ; the only sound point in it is doing away associating dissection and punishment for crime. The source whence I conceive anatomical, medical, arid surgical knowledge may be acquired, is sealed up by avarice. I allude to the Hospitals especially our provincial hospitals. it the Legislature put these on a proper footing; let them be made accessible to all medical men; let the enormous exactions from pupils, in the shape of fees for the privilege of attending therm be reduced or abolished. The result could not fail to be most beneficial, not only in greatly diminishing the num- ber of bodies required for dissection, but as creating nurseries forsound practical medical men. At present, a pupil spends live long years of appreuticeship in the compounding of medicines, acquires idle habits, and the very hest years of Isis life are frittered away ; but remove the immense .plicuidary penalties by which he is prohibited from entering the walls of so hospital, and during these five years a vast amount of valuablekumadedge would be acquired, of which the community would ultimately reap the advant•ige. Not only would the symptoms and treatment of diseases be learned, but, 'luring the examination of those who tie, the anatomy of the head, chest, and abdomen night be most accurately ac- quired,—nay, many important operations in surgery, and much of what is called
• surgical anatoiny-," might be learned—and all without materially disfiguring
the body. Can any one doubt that for students thus trained, one-third of the subjects for dissection would suffice, than for those who went straight to the school from the shop with no higher knowledge than the colour and smell of rhubarb? The excluding the body of the profession from all access to these public charities is also so pregnant with evil, that it ought and must be abolished : it is injurious to society, for much valuable knowledge is hemmed up ; it is injurious to the charities, for fewer individuals are directly interested an their welfare ; it is injurious to the poor patients themselves, for the true na- ture of their maladies is often overlooked from want of a salutary check on care- lessness, which the admission of other medical men (even pupils would suffice for this) would admirably supply. I could add much more to interest every philanthropist on the subject ; but I trust I have said enough to show, that in legislating on the subject of medical education, our County Infirmaries ought not to be overlooked. Let a committee be appointed to inquire into thew management ; it will be found that it is for the most part intrusted to the me- dical officers, and that they turn it to account.
I remain your obedient servant,
A GENERAL PRACTITIONER.