1158 of societies’ admission or refusal ; expulsion or transfer of members, or refusal of permission to transfer; adequacy-or inadequacy of medical tr...

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1158 of societies’ admission or refusal ; expulsion or transfer of members, or refusal of permission to transfer; adequacy-or inadequacy of medical treatment; success and failure of the sanatorium benefit; medical attendance available for persons leaving home or away from home; the working of the maternity benefit ; and so on. We want to hear of every example of satisfaction or success, as well as of every grievance or failure, and to explore all the results that can be yet traced. For this we can rely only on the kind the of cooperation press and the public. Iam, Sir, yours faithfully, SIDNEY WEBB. Fabian Society Research Department, 37, Norfolk-street, Strand, W.C., Oct. 10th, 1913.




WILLIAM LANGLEY MEMORIAL FUND. To the Editor of THE LANCET. SIR,-I should feel much obliged if through the columns of THE LANCET you could make it known that subscriptions to the above fund received by my bankers, Sir Charles R. McGrigor and Co., 25, Charles-street, St. James’s, S. W., will be transferred to the committee at Lagos, Southern I am, Sir, yours Nigeria., faithfully, J. P. FAGAN. Oct. Scarsdale-villas, Kensington, W., :10th, 1913.

SNAKE STONES. To the Editor


account of"An Irish-American Talisman " on p. 506 of THE LANCET for August 16th last mention is made of "snake stones." Perhaps a description of some which I have seen may interest your readers. The two "stones"" which I have seen measure about three-quarters of an inch by about two-thirds of an inch-one being roughly triangular, the other more oval. They are about a quarter of an inch in thickness, one side being flat and the other



rounded, and are both of a colour as black as jet-a substance which in consistence they somewhat resemble. They are

ordinary stone. I have seen of II snake-bite "treated with these stones. In no case did the patient appear to m8 to suffer from any symptom but fright, but they were all put down as cures. In two of the cases I think possibly the people had been bitten by non-poisonous snakes. In the other two I think the snakes only existed in the sufferers’ imagination. The owner of the stones is a Babu man, and must have a considerable practice, for he is said to have refused as much as 1000 rupees for one stone. The method of cure is as follows. One or both stones are applied in the neighbourhood of the wound. They adhere to the skin for some time, and when they fall off they are put for a short time into milk, by-which means the poison is said to be extracted. They are then reapplied to the skin, and this process is repeated until they refuse to stick to the skin. This Babu says he got the stones from a fakir. In this part of the world snake stonesare said to be found "on the hills," and I have heard them described by natives as the solidified saliva of the markhoy-a species of wild goat. The name markhoy means snake-eater, as the animal is popularly supposed to kill and eat snakes, and its saliva is a reputed antidote to snake venom. A description which appeared in the Field in the spring of last year of a hair-ball found in the stomach of a chamois bears a striking resemblance to these "snake-stones."" It appears to me quite -possible that, when all remains of an animal whose stomach had contained a hair-ball had been removed by birds and beasts of prey, the hair-ball might remain to be picked up "on the hills." I enclose a photograph of the stones. The third, smaller and rounder, is in -appearance made of the same substance as the others, but is used in cases of scorpion I am, Sir, yours faithfully, sting. Louis H. L. MACKENZIE, Dera Ismail Khan, Sept. 13th, 1913. Captain; I.M.S. *** Previous references to snake-stones will be found in THE LANCET of May llth, 1867, p. 576, Jan. 31st, 1903, p. 343, and Nov. 13th, 1909, p. 1478.-ED. L.

certainly four

not at all like any


SHIP’S SURGEONS. To the Editor


SIR,-May I add my experience and advice to that already offered by others to those of our profession who contemplate applying for appointments in the above capacity ? It is a fact that the shipping companies at the present time are experiencing the greatest difficulty in obtaining surgeons for their vessels, and although no one would desire to take undue advantage of their embarrassment, it is never.. theless a favourable and unique opportunity for establishing a fair rate of remuneration and for insisting on reasonable accommodation and comfort. For instance, the leading Company trading to the East, the Peninsular and Oriental, has recently been paying E20 a month to surgeons, instead of its usual fee of RIO a month. This is a big advance, but it cannot be considered an exorbitant one when one considers that the same company pays its chief engineers f.30 and over, chief officers .620 and over, pursers and chief stewards 616 and over, and chief cooks f.12. On joining the company to which I am attached I was officially assured that in addition to my pay of RIO per month I should earn in fees from passengers at least another £180 per annum, bringing This I have my remuneration up to Z300 per annum. found to be ridiculously and unwarrantably exaggerated. During the last three months, all spent on mail steamers, I have received .6310s. in fees from passengers. May I therefore tender the following advice to those about to join as ship’s surgeons: 1. To decline any appointment for which the remuneration is less than f.20 per month, even in those companies where fees are allowed to be charged in addition to pay. 2. To obtain in writing an undertaking that "outside"accommodation will be provided-that is, an outside cabin with a porthole. Only those who have experienced them can realise the horrors of endeavouring to sleep in an inside cabin in the tropics. 3. To insist on the cabin being fitted with an electric fan. Most companies provide these as a matter of course and ordinary comfort, but there are others that do not do so without a previous understanding and arrangement ; the P. and 0. Company is I enclose my card. an instance of the latter. I am, Sir, yours faithfully, A.B. Sept. 23rd, 1912.


PROFESSION AND THE LAYMAN. To the Editor of THE LANCET. SIR,--In a leading article on Oct. 4th you speak hopefully of the future of medical practice. Certainly the incomes of practitioners have not progressed in any way whatever commensurate with the improvement of their equipment. It may be the truth that there are more laymen now who appreciate the circumstances of a medical man’s life than was the case not very long ago. Laymen in whose hands there may lie voting power with regard to medical appointments are coming to understand that the majority of the candidates before them will have spent THE MEDICAL

R1000, and more, in the acquisition of the grammar of their calling, and that this unpaid apprenticeship will have

lasted in the majority of cases at least six years. A large amount of bitterness was created between the medical professidn and the public while the National Insurance It Act was muddling -its way through Parliament. wascompletely impossible that the medical profession should acquiesce in the original proposals, but the medical position was not fortunately placed before the public either by themselves or by the political newspapers which approved their action, or by the supporters of the Bill in its original form.who resented all medical protest. Time after time medical men were told that the medical profession was merely " out for money," and it is undoubted that a certain amount of harm was done to us as a body in consequence of the oftrepeated calumny. Now, however, the public is rapidly perceiving that what the medical profession said about the Insurance Act was very right; but before the medical profession as a calling becomes popular, time will have to elapse in my opinion. I am, Sir, yours faithfully, PARENT AND TEACHER, Oct. 6th, 1913.