Colorado College Tutt Library

Century Chest transcription 70

To the Physicians of Colorado Springs in the year 2000 A.D.

By Samuel Edwin Solly M.D.

I am a practitioner of medicine in Colorado Springs where I have been resident since Dec. 18th having come direct from my native land of England, to Colorado on account of chronic phthisis.

I was born in London May 5th 1845. My father Samuel Solly F.R.S. was distinguished as a surgeon & author of a work on the Human brain. I was educated at Rugby school and received my chief medical instruction at St. Thomas' Medical College London & graduated at the Royal College of Surgeons May 1867.

After travelling and studying abroad I practiced in London until failing health sent me to this city. At first my practice was a general one but for several years I have been a consulting physician specially devoting my self to treatment of the respiratory tract chiefly practicing among the tuberculous. I have studied with & experimented much especially on the influence of the climate upon disease my chief work being a handbook of medical climatology. I have held many positions of trust & honesty [?] being in turn president of the El Paso Med. Society, of the American Climatological Association & of the American Laryngological Rhinological & Cytological Society. I have also interested myself in many public, social, religious & charitable affairs though my health while much benefited & my life undoubtedly prolonged by the change to Colorado has not been good enough for me to do all I have desired for the public welfare. In political matters I have acted as an independent without seeking or holding office & tried to judge which was the right side of each question & then supported it to the best of my ability.

While I retain my love & interest in my father land I have become an ardent American citizen believing in its civilization & its people & their destiny in spite of its present crudities & anomalies. I belong to the Episcopalian Church but am concerned little with doctrines but believe in a future life & a supreme being.

To pass to the present state of local medical affairs. We have in a community of some 25,000 people between 100 & 200 doctors good, bad & indifferent the best of these belong to the El Paso Co. Med. Society 45 members. We meet monthly discuss papers & cases sup together & generally are friendly & sociable the standard of medical skill & ethics is as good as in a town of its size outside the regular profession we have homeopaths, osteopaths, Christian Scientists & every other known kind of quack these being the parasites & vermin that grow upon us for our various negligences or iquesances [?] & are good for us in keeping us from shuddering [?] at our pests. Since I began the study of medicine nearly 40 years ago the science of medecine [sic] has greatly advanced & we see dawning the full daylight of knowledge in which I trust you now stand, when the practice of medecine [sic] will be an act founded on a nice [?] foundation of science. Then the doctor will be not a mere tinker of the human frame of whose physiological working he is very ignorant & whose weapons for fighting disease are inadequate. But an instructor [?] & enforcer of hygiene & so a preventer [?] of much of the sickness & bodily incapacity that now afflicts us. Thank God we are now beginning to turn from drugs to the methods of nature for the cure of our patients. In the treatment of tuberculosis in this city the best doctors give very few drugs & do not believe in any of the specific treatments such as creasate & tuberculin but trust to keeping our patients when they will allow us both day & night in the open air & giving them all the nourishing food, largely meat, which they can digest, its first & always when fever is present rest & then cautiously increasing exercise stopping short of actual fatigue. Each individual case is being more carefully considered so that allowance be made for the individual's idiosyncrasy. I have lately returned from an extended tour in Europe & the states in which I studied the sanitarium treatment, & believe it is the best method of managing most tuberculosis patients for the first few months of their illness. I have been trying to find out what is the special value of attitude for consumptives. I believe that apart from the sunshine dryness, openness & opportunity for open air life which it enjoys with some other climates it is in the special stimulus it gives to hematogenesis by the increase in red blood cells & hemoglobin. I believe this increase though perhaps only compensatory is real & not only apparent though my investigations have not yet proved this. In all scientific research we are sorely hindered by the lack of funds laboratories & trained observers. This is due to the indifference of the general public & governmental bodies to medical scientific matters. They look for practical results are [?] the instant & ask us to make bricks without straw, consequently impudent assertion & dazzling methods of supposed cure are popular & successful among many physicians & their clients. To say you don't know is a confession that we doctors can rarely make without losing patients. Medical education is slowly improving but colleges are started as mere commercial enterprises & men all given diplomas without proper training, & in numbers in excess of the demand for these reasons especially quackery stalks rampant through the land. We brave in Colorado 3 indifferent medical colleges instead of one good one. With respect to drugs strychincia [?] as a netoe [?] & heart stimulant, digitalis for the fixing [?] of irregular heart, guinine for malaria, mercury & iodide of potassium for syphilis, & gran [?] and arsenic for anemia are our chief agents. Itutosius [?] are beginning to be used successfully in some acute diseases especially for diphtheria, we are also being encouraged in our experiments with the animal extracts from internal organs such as thyroid extracts for certain chronic diseases. Various forms of hydropathy are being used especially cold bathing in typhoid. Electricity is used but not much understood in diagnosis by injections of tuberculin or blood tests as for typhoid & malaria all proving useful. The discovery of various bacteria pathognormonic [?] of special diseases has helped us much in diagnosis but bacteriology is dominating the filed too much & chemical research in connection with it has only just begun. I expect if I live to see great results from this latter study. I believe that we as physicians have concerned ourselves to [sic] much with the material side of disease & to [sic] little with the spiritual, mental & moral aspects of the sick individual. I wish I could [illegible] to you but I don't wish to be immortalized [?] as a 20th century ball [?] so say hail & farewell

Samuel Edwin Solly
August 4th 1901

"Di Meliora"

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