Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/637

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VIVISECTION AND PRACTICAL MEDICINE.

catching the blood, and elaborate machines, such as those on the table, were among the apparatus the surgeon had to prepare for operation.

Let us now turn to a modern operation, and let us consider whether our present modus operandi is influenced by the light which experimental inquiry has shed on physiology during the last century. I shall not attempt to recount any one of the numerous cases which the surgeon now approaches with perfect confidence of undoubted success, although a comparatively short time back they would have been looked upon as completely beyond his reach. Many such cases, which formerly would have led either to certain death, enduring misery, or life-long inconvenience, must occur to the minds of all here. Let us take a case of disease or injury requiring the amputation of a portion of an extremity. In the first place the patient is made quite insensible to pain by the administration of chloroform, or some such drug; not only is he insensible to pain, but also unconscious to all that he formerly would have been obliged to see and hear, by no means the least painful part of the operation. With regard to the use of anaesthetics, I shall not delay, for vivisection can not claim to be the sole means of introducing this great boon to modern surgery, although experiment on living animals played a most prominent part both in their discovery and their introduction into common use in this country, as has been frequently pointed out.

The next step in the operation is to make the part bloodless. This can be done in the following way: By holding up the limb for some time to facilitate the flow of blood from the veins, and thus to reduce the blood-pressure within these vessels, by which means the local vasomotor mechanisms are brought into play with considerable force, so as to reduce the quantity of blood in the limb, allowing only a limited flow to continue. Then Esmarch's elastic bandage may be applied to further empty the minute blood-vessels. By this means the textures to be cut into may be made to remain, during the active part of the operation, as bloodless as those of a corpse. The advantage of having no dread of hæmorrhage to induce haste, no blood to impede the view, or render the instruments difficult to handle, can hardly be overestimated. So that, even apart from the all-important point of preventing the weakly patient losing blood, this bloodless surgery must be regarded as one of the most important improvements in modern methods. And how far may it be traced to vivisection? We know that the contractility of the blood-vessels, and the high pressure of the blood in the arteries, as well as the motions of the heart and the course of the blood, were demonstrated by this means; and is not this the key of the whole matter? But, further, were we not familiar by vivisections, and by the removal of tissues from the bodies of recently killed animals, with the fact that the textures can retain their life and function for a considerable period after their normal circulation has