Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/636

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How was it that I was able confidently to advise the policeman about this poor woman, though he was no doubt very experienced in this sort of cases? What aid did experimental inquiry give me in arriving at my conclusion?

Well, in the first place, I knew that the paralysis was restricted to voluntary movements, without the motions belonging to organic life being in the least interfered with. Vivisections of the earliest times informed me that this was quite possible as a result of some injury of the nerve-centers, and experiments of more recent date enabled me to exclude a large part of these centers from being the seat of the lesion. That there was no local injury of the spinal cord in the dorsal region I knew, both from the loss of consciousness and from the fact that the reflex action of the lower limbs was not intensified, and vivisections informed me they would have become so had this been the case. I could see by the movement of the left leg that only one side of the body was paralyzed; and then the look of the face distinctly showed that part of the seventh cranial nerve, which Charles Bell's vivisections taught me to know to be motor in function, was paralyzed. This fact, together with the ready reflex action of the eyes and the sound side of the face, which I knew by vivisection required unimpaired sensory nerves, showed me that it could not be a case of profound toxaemia such as the policeman supposed to be possible. I knew by vivisections performed by many English physicians and physiologists, some of whom are still among us, that the second heart-sound depended on a certain action of the aortic valves. Not hearing the familiar sound, I concluded that the aortic valves must be diseased. Experiments on living animals concerning coagulation of the blood within the vessels informed me that when the lining coat of a blood-vessel, or the heart, is diseased, little clots are often formed at the diseased or injured part. I knew, further, from Virchow's classical experiments on living animals, that emboli introduced into the arterial blood-current often become impacted in the middle cerebral artery, and that the embolic blocking of a brain-artery, by shutting off the blood from the area it supplied, caused a sudden arrest of function of the part. Although the nerves going to the various paralyzed muscles arose from very different regions of the cord and brain, I know by vivisections that there is a part of the cortex of the brain the injury of which would cause them all to be powerless. Clinical observation and pathological anatomy would have informed me that it was probably a brain-lesion; but, had it not been for the light thrown by vivisection on the few facts I was able thus hurriedly to observe, I should not have been much wiser than any other by-stander, and could only have agreed with them that it was a "stroke" of paralysis.

Now let us consider a surgical case. The other day I mentioned some of the old methods of operation, when buttons of vitriol, caustics, steel compresses, boiling oil, hot irons, a copious receptacle for