Transactions of the Twelfth Session of the AR State Medical Society (1887)

Transactions of the State Medical Society of Arkansas (Little Rock: Press Printing Company, 1887).

Annual Address of the President, James A. Dibrell, Sr. (Van Buren)

“What amazing wonders have not modern scientific investigations accomplished? What a grand display of dazzling brilliants have not been dug up hitherto dark, unfathomed recesses of nature, where Science sat gloomy and enshrouded in her lonely solitude? What a blazing light is chemistry! Old things are done away and the radiant new sheds its lustre over the world, bringing grand results from worlds of microscopic observations teeming with interest and benefit to mankind. True pathology follows in the wake of anatomic histology, and physiology determines with accuracy the therapeusis of medical agents in their different modes of actions on the different tissues. The study of the physiological effects of medicine is one of the great discoveries of the day. [Goes on about surgery for awhile] What has modern medicine not accomplished? It has in some countries, notably England, increased human longevity nearly five per cent. Thus the time is not far distant when man shall live to the period assigned by the Creator, or until the organisms wear out and fail by long work. The same spirit which led medical men to sacrifice their lives in services to the poor, has led them to study enthusiastically and publish the minutes of their study to the world in the interests of humanity. [Discusses diseases traced to sewer gas, dirty water, “educational over-pressure,” contact with disease, and vaccination]” (18-19)


Report of Committee on the Practice of Medicine, W.P. Hart (Washington County)

Divides history of medicine into three periods. The first was spiritual/superstitious, the second focused on medical intervention, and the third — the current — is one in which “the causes of disease are being sought for and determined.” (23) “This is a field of inquiry in which investigation has barely passed the outer boundary, but when it shall have been thoroughly explored by the hosts of busy scientific workers engaged in its exploration, then indeed will medicine rightly claim and be entitled to a place among the definite sciences.”
Seeking scientific basis for medical profession, wanting it “place[d] among the definite sciences.”
“When the day dawns that we not only observe the symptoms and effects of disease, but know and understand the causes that produce them… then indeed will ours be a noble calling and the upright and conscientious doctor a being, in reality, but a little lower than the angels.”

“Bacteriology has been worked and pushed with industry and energy, for all it is worth, we may say, and promises brilliant results in the near future, but its status at the present time is unsettled.” (31) What causes what? Does the disease cause the bacillus or does the bacillus cause the disease?

“The chief bearings and effects of these studies and investigations will be felt upon hygienic, sanitary, and preventative medicine, and suggest that the doctor of tomorrow will be called upon, not only to cure disease, but to prevent disease.”


Report on State Medicine, Thomas W. Hurley (Bentonville)

Mostly complaining about lack of government support for the State Medical Board, which was legislated into existence in 1881 but not supported after 1883. Compares AR to European countries — how are we different? Are the people incapable/uninterested , or is the medical profession the problem?

“Dr. Jno. D. Jordan, of Eureka Springs, says: ‘I think the greatest drawback to State medicine in Arkansas is the want of co-operation among the medical men of the state.” (80)

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