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does not always convey a complete idea of new dis- -coveries. The Victoria University Extension Committeehave therefore considered it desirable to meet this diffi-
culty by organising courses intended to fulfil the require-ments of medical men who are not able to take ad-
,7antag& of the facilities offered within the various
colleges. The new scheme was finally adopted about themiddle of last year. Thanks to the action of the MedicalSociety of Chester, and more especially to the interest takenby its president in this matter, Chester is the first town, asfar as I know, which has taken advantage of this newarrangement. After consultation with Dr. Henry Dobie Icame to the conclusion that such a course ought to be apractical one and ought to consist of a series of descrip-tions of special diseases selected with a view to make clearthe various ways in which bacteriology has proved useful inmedicine and surgery. It must, however, be understood thatthese diseases are only types and that they are used asconcrete examples of the application of principles."
THE Government have an enormous programme to getthrough before the recess and it is doubtful whether severalimportant matters discussed this session will stand any-chance of becoming law. Indeed the Midwives Bill is
already dead and it is probable that other Bills ofinterest to our readers will be shelved. In his statementin the House of Commons last week Mr. Balfour did not- even mention the Companies Bill, while he confessed
to being quite ignorant of the promise which had beenmade to introduce a new Petroleum Bill. He, however,expressed a hope of passing the new Sale of Food and DrugsBill, as considerable progress had been made with this Billin Committee. It is pretty safe to say that this Bill will give6-ise to considerable discussion in the Commons and thereforethe prospects of the measure becoming law this session areremote. Lastly, nothing has yet been definitely done in
regard to the continued indiscriminate sale of carbolic acid.A question on this subject was aked in the House onJune 23rd by Sir John Leng and the Home Secretary repliedthat the gain to the public would not be commensurate withthe inconvenience arising from the restrictions. On the
whole, therefore, there is little hope for serious attentionbeing devoted to several important subjects of medical
interest around which considerable and highly animated dis.cussion has been waged in the press and at public meetings.
SEWER AIR AND ITS DANGERS.
A FEW months ago two men met with their death whilst rworking in a sewer in Manchester.l The cause did not seem to be discovered at the time but it was thought to be rthe turning of some deleterious matter into the sewers from chemical or other works in the neighbourhood. On June 5th Ethree men lost their lives in a catch-pit on the Wigan outfall tsewer. One of these men had been following this kind of E
work-namely, emptying the catch-pits of sediment-for 18 years. Although instructions had been given to this man years ago to take off the cover some time before going down and to iput down a lighted candle to see if it would burn these pre- 1cautions appear never to have been taken. A few days after tthe Wigan fatality a man lost his life in a sewer at Rochester. j At the inquest on the Wigan victims held by Mr. Brighouse, icounty coroner, it was stated in evidence that a gang of six (men were directed to clean out the catch-pits which are on (a line of the outfall sewer for about three miles in length. These catch-pits are for the purpose of catching the ]
sediment or silt which gets into the sewage and they (are cleaned out periodically every six or seven weeks or ]
even at longer intervals. On the morning of the accident (June 5th) two men went to No. 1 catch-pit, took off the
1 THE LANCET, Dec. 24th, 1898, p. 1722; Jan. 28th, 1899, p. 265;March 18th, 1899, p. 771.
cover, and emptied it out. The practice is that one man
descends and fills the bucket whilst the other hoists it to the
top. Two other men went to catch-pit No. 2 and two toNo. 3 ; this went on alternately till catch-pit No. 6 wasreached, where one of the men, who was 63 years of age, ondescending appeared to have been overpowered by gasor vapour, for he fell into the sewage and a fellow workman
going down to help him out was overcome in the samemanner. An alarm was raised and the two men who were
going to No. 7 catch-pit returned ; one of these descendedNo. 6 catch-pit and met with a similar fate. A colliernow went down to place a rope round the men, but healso was overpowered and had to be brought to the surfacewith a boathook. Dr. Stirling of Standish was soon on thespot and with artificial respiration and restoratives the colliereventually recovered. The other three men were quite dead.The gas in this catch-pit rapidly overpowered its victims.Why it should have been in this particular catch-pit (No. 6)and not in the five others it is difficult to say, for there is
nothing between catch-pit No. 5 and No. 6 that would allowanything deleterious to be admitted. The medical officer of
health (Mr. W. Berry) was called to give evidence and he ex-pressed the opinion that the gas was carbonic acid gas, thatthrough some special cause it was generated in this No. 6catch-pit, and that the following precautions should be
adopted in future : (1) taking off all the covers first ; (2)allowing a reasonable time to elapse before going down;(3) pouring limewater into the catch-pit and stirring thecontents ; and (4) lowering a lighted candle to see if it willcontinue burning or not. These suggestions met with theapproval of the jury, for they returned a verdict of " Acci-dental death," not attaching any blame to the corporation.They also recommended that the corporation should take
steps in the future to ascertain whetherthe sewer and catch-pits were free from noxious gases previously to the catch-pitsbeing cleaned out and thought that the suggestions of Mr.Berry should be carried into eflect. The sanitary committeeof the corporation have since "referred the question of
emptying these catch-pits to the medical officer of healthand the borough engineer for consideration and report as to
whether any, and if so what, means can be adopted to have. the work carried out without any risk to life or danger to. health."
CHIROPODY IN COSTUME.
Two cases have recently been heard by Mr. De Rutzen atMarlborough-street in which women were charged with
keeping disorderly houses under the pretext of massage,manicure, and chiropody. Both were eventually dismissedby the magistrate and we do not propose to discuss the
evidence which he very properly did not consider sufficientto make it incumbent upon him to convict. It serves, how-
ever, to remind us that so-called massage establishments arein many instances simply brothels and that it behovesthe police to watch them carefully, not only in theinterests of order and morality, but because respectablebut imprudent persons visiting them in the beliefthat a course of treatment is really administered mayfind themselves in a position extremely favourable to
the levying of blackmail. In addition to this we may pointout that although a medical rubber who can produce thecertificate of a medical man (as one of the women chargedin the cases referred to declared herself able to do) commitsno illegality in describing herself as a nurse on her door-plateor in wearing a nurse’s dress in public, neither act is by anymeans essential to her position and occupation. A nurse
both when actively engaged on her duties and when out ofdoors wears a uniform which the hospital or institution towhich she belongs prescribes or which for obvious
reasons it is exnedient that she should wear, but if