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Page 1: RHEUMATISM

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tian society, he said, is a true social life possible. Theunit of society is the family, and the key position inthe medical profession is the family doctor. For thisreason the fundamental problem of marriage and sexis one of the most important with which the doctor iscalled upon to deal. Are medical students, he asked,trained to give valuable advice on such matters in theirethical and sociological aspects On the personal side,true Christian doctrine appreciates that the unit of valueis the individual, and in this evaluation doctors joinwith priests-a vindication that has been the purposeof the war. And the war may have inculcated a valuablelesson in respect to a philosophic conception of the mean-ing of life, a realisation that truth for the most part existsin a fragmentary form, each man specialising in his ownparticular fragment and knowing little or nothing outsidehis own field. With this, frustration in life proceedspari passu with agnosticism as the inevitable result.The remedy is only to be found in the purpose thatgoverns and controls man-a spiritual value, whethercalled philosophy or Christian religion.

The Archbishop recalled Dean Inge’s remark on a

similar occasion that he could not see why doctors onqualifying should not, like priests, be ordained. Some-thing of a jeu-d’esprit no doubt ; but coming fromthe head of the Church it must have stimulated theneophytes of Westminster Hospital medical school,standing on the threshold of their career, to a realisationthat they had indeed embarked upon a vocation-scientific, social, and personal-a vocation that canlook on life and death, on good and evil; unafraid.

HAPPY ENDING

OLD age is everybody’s concern-if only because " weshall all grow old if we live long enough." A booklet 1

issued by the Old People’s Welfare Committee, founded inBuckinghamshire early this year, presents ideas andinformation which other counties and other people inter-ested in geriatrics will value. It asks fundamentalquestions. Where should the old spend the last years oflife ? ‘1 In the homes of their children ’? (That is seldompossible in these crowded days.) In a home, or a hostel,or an institution In almshouses In small housesbuilt especially to meet the needs of old age ? Theunnamed writer wisely and kindly reviews the alter-natives. He reminds us why the old poor-house was somuch dreaded : it meant expulsion from the family circle,the separation of man and wife, and the loss of comfortingpersonal possessions. A future pattern is not difficult toforesee : " long-term planning envisages a community inwhich the elderly have their own quarters, and leave themany-roomed houses to their juniors." Some areas havealready experimented successfully with flats, houses, andbungalows-separate dwellings where old couples or

solitary old people can live among coevals and yet be neartheir own young people, and the shops and cinemas whichprovide their daily adventures. It is worth noting, inthis context, that the London County Council, in develop-ing the Loughton site, in Essex, plans to include among atotal of 3850 houses, 108 one-room bungalows suitablefor old people. These will be put among other houses,close to shops, churches, schools, restaurants, and acinema. Those who built the old almshouses often setthem in the main street, knowing how keen is theinterest of the aged in the contemporary scene : we

share vicariously in the doings of others, and mostpeople who have the leisure like to see the world goround. To put old people away behind high walls hasnever been a kindness. Dr. Leslie Banks looks forwardto cottage estates where the mansion becomes a smallhospital, a nurse lives at the lodge, and the old people livein an oval or crescent of self-contained cottages builtbetween the two.

1. PuttingthemontheMap. Bucks Old People’s Welfare. Obtainablefrom Hunt, Barnard and Company, Aylesbury, ls. 2d.post free.

Until we can build, however, we must make the bestof the present. Old people who are lonely can be visited ;friends can be found to write to them ; they can be givena chance to garden, to live in hostels and take their sharein running them, and to join clubs and community centres.In New York an old-age information bureau has been setup for doctors, social workers, and older people them.selves. The writer commends this idea to London andSydney.

THE POET IN THE DOCTOR

ApOLLO was the god of both medicine and poetry.Sir Arthur MacNalty., recalling this fact in his presi.dential address to the history section of the Royal Societyof Medicine last week, did what he could to prepare hishearers for the host of poetic doctors whom he presentlyintroduced among them. It is hard to believe there havebeen so many. Keats, our giant, we know ; Goldsmithand Bridges we know : but how many remember thatbesides his poetic prose Sir Thomas Browne wrote

religious verse; that Thomas Campion, of many songs,and Abraham Cowley, the Royalist, were both doctors;that Garth and Arbuthnot had their excursions intopoetry ; that George Crabbe was a surgeon as well as aparson ; that Henry Vaughan was so much damped bycriticism of his religious poems that he stuck to generalpractice for the last forty years of his life ; that Smollettwrote " Tears of Scotland " ; that Southey and FrancisThompson were medical students; and that Ronald Rosscommemorated in verse his achievements in malarialresearch ’l Sir Arthur brought them all to life, less intheir portraits on the screen than in his verbal miniatures.He was speaking of their influence on other poets-adifficult quality to measure, but pleasant to speculateabout. In passing, he showed the influence that poetryhad on the doctors who wrote it : roughly speaking, ifthey were good poets they gave up doctoring, and if theywere good doctors they were journeyman poets. Apollo,it seems, prefers to be served at one altar at a time.But the profession which can claim Keats, Campion,Browne, Goldsmith, Crabbe, and Bridges cannot bepurely philistine. We can fairly claim to have honouredthe god in both his aspects.

RHEUMATISM

THE Empire Rheumatism Council has assembled anotable team of lecturers and demonstrators for the

opening postgraduate course of its post-war programme.Beginning on the afternoon of Wednesday, Oct. 31, thecourse ends on the morning of Sunday, Nov. 11. OnNov. 2 and 3 three of the sessions will be held in con.junction with the annual meeting of the HeberdenSociety, which is going to the Royal Free Hospitalfor a demonstration on recent advances in physicalmethods and to the Middlesex Hospital for one on deepX-ray therapy of spondylitis. The programme for mostother days comprises a lecture at 12 NOON, and two morein the afternoon, usually at 4 and 5 PM-all held in theboard-room of the British Red Cross Society’s clinic inPeto-place, London, NW1. Full particulars may be hadfrom the medical secretary of the Empire RheumatismCouncil, BMA House (North), Tavistock Square, WC1.

POSTGRADUATE TRAINING FOR INVALIDEDOFFICERS

A NUMBER of doctors who formerly served in theForces are doubtful whether they will be entitled to takethe postgraduate courses and hospital appointmentsoffered under the Ministry of Health’s scheme of post-graduate refreshment and training. We understandthat any medical man or woman invalided from theServices since the beginning of this year will be eligiblefor such courses and appointments. In fixing a limit forthe retrospective operation of the scheme it was thoughtthat officers invalided last year or earlier would probablynow have re-established themselves in their professionand would not need Government assistance.