1
410 and treatment may hesitate to go so far as Dr. Tighe in excluding them from preventive work. Surely he over-simplifies when he accepts the definition that " preventive medicine is that which starts off with health and sees to its maintenance, and clinical or curative medicine is that which starts off with disease and endea- vours to effect its cure or amelioration " I Health and disease cannot be such definite entities as this implies : e they are better conceived as different ends of a scale which records the degree of success in reacting to environ- ment. Perhaps therefore the clinician need not trouble to pursue, with Dr. Tighe, such academic questions as whether prevention does or does not embrace treatment of the small beginnings of disease, or the avoidance of sequelse. His task is simply to give the help and advice most likely to be useful to his patient, regardless of whether this advice can be labelled curative or pre- ventive. Any new boundary between the territories of the medical officer of health and the’ practitioner can hardly give the whole field of preventive medicine to the former. In so far as they must be separated, the natural division appears to lie between communal medicine on the one hand and personal medicine on the other. The clinician is concerned primarily with the individual, while the MOH is concerned primarily with the community. But preventive medicine can properly be practised by both. A SERVICE FOR DOCTORS AND PATIENTS THE problem of disposing of patients in need of immediate hospital treatment has exercised both town and country doctors for many years. In 1938 King Edward’s Hospital Fund for London determined to make an attempt to solve the problem for the London area by initiating, after discussions with the Voluntary Hospitals Committee, the Voluntary Hospitals Emergency Bed Service. This service opened in June, 1938, and in its first year dealt with 7859 cases. The rapid increase in the number of calls in the first half of 1939, when 5131 cases were dealt with, showed that the service was valued. At the outbreak of war the work was interrupted for three weeks, when the whole staff was lent to the Ministry of Health to help in the organisation of the Emergency Medical Service. It was then opened again and records of the period between 1940 and the end of the flying-bomb attacks show that calls on it increased rapidly whenever conditions in London became relatively normal. Cases dealt with in the first half of 1945 have been more numerous than in any other half-year since July, 1940. It seems that as soon as the London population becomes stable and hospitals extend their activities to pre-war limits, the scope of the service is bound to increase. It operates on a system now backed by seven years’ experience, and has reached a high pitch of efficiency. Doctors who in the past have waited, weary and exasper- ated, by a telephone at their own or at a patient’s house, will be surprised to know that the average number of telephone calls to hospitals for each admission through the Emergency Bed Service has never exceeded 1’7 in any one year, and has at times been as low as 1-5. The flexibility of the arrangements is well illustrated by an incident of the flying-bomb period when the building which housed the EBS was damaged by a flying bomb two minutes after a call came through. The staff on duty, despite minor injuries, moved down to the emer- gency telephone in the basement, booked a bed at a hospital, arranged for the ambulance to collect the patient, and rang the doctor back to say that all arrange- ments had been made, within 20 ininutes of receiving the call. Happily the service may now look forward to emergencies of a. more peaceable nature, of which it already has some experience. Its records show that on one occasion it succeeded within 10 minutes in tracing a doctor’s aunt who lived alone in London, and had disappeared without tace, after being taken acutely ill. Owing to the nature of its work the EBS has a compre- hensive view of the .hospital needs of the metropolitan area. It has constant evidence of the acute shortage of accommodation for chronically sick and aged people, who though not presenting acute emergencies need either hospital treatment or institutional care. Waiting-lists offer complex problems : the patient must be allowed to choose the neighbourhood in which he wants to be treated, and the doctor under whom he is to be admitted; and the hospital which has advised treatment through its expert medical staff must be responsible for carrying that treatment through to a conclusion. The problems are greater in magnitude than those already solved, but not different in kind; and having gained the confidence of doctors and hospital authorities the EBS may well help to overcome another of their joint difficulties. It is important that London doctors should know what the service has to offer at the present time ; besides being able to arrange for the admission of patients to hospital with the least possible delay, it provides an ambulance when necessary, and informs the doctor by telephone when arrangements are complete. The doctor is always asked if he prefers any particular hospital, but he often leaves the choice open. Before the war, the service used to work all night : it now operates from 9 AM to 10 PM daily, and hopes to resume all-night service when the labour position becomes easier. In the tele. phone book, it is given under the heading of Emergency Bed Service, the numbers being City 2162 and Clerken- well 6571. EWART’S SIGN WHEN William Ewart,l then physician to St. George’s Hospital, published his classical paper on pericardial effusion nearly fifty years ago he described ten diagnostic signs, the eighth (the posterior pericardial patch of dullness) and the tenth (the posterior pericardial patch of tubular breathing and segophony) of which together came to be known as Ewart’s sign. These findings were for long accepted as among the classical signs of pericardial effusion, being ascribed to pulmonary col- lapse as a result of -pressure on the bronchi by the distended pericardium, although it has also been sug- gested that Ewart’s sign only occurs in rheumatic cases where it is due to rheumatic pneumonia. Incidentally, Ewart’s sign is not mentioned in Morton’s revised edition of Garrison’s Medical Bibliography, while one well- known English textbook refers to it as Bamberger’s sign. The specificity of the sign has gradually come under suspicion, similar findings having been described in patients with a large left auricle in whom there was no evidence of a pericardial effusion. American workers 2: have now suggested that all types of cardiac enlargement may produce one or more’of the following signs over the lower lobe of the left lung : an areaof dullness just below the angle of the left scapula, sometimes only elicited on heavy percussion ; a prolongation of the expiratory breath-sound varying from that in bronchovesicular breathing to that obtained in bronchial breathing; diminished breath-sounds ; crepitations ; and an in- creased, almost nasal, vocal resonance. In none of the patients on whom the American study was based, was there any evidence of other conditions, such as pul- monary infarction, congestion, an elevated diaphragm or pericardial effusion, that might account for these signs. The findings are said to be most common with an enlarged left auricle, as in mitral stenosis, and it should be remembered that in hypertension the left auricle is often considerably enlarged and may be displaced backwards by the hypertrophied left ventricle 3 1. Ewart, W. Brit. med. J. 1896, i, 717. 2. Chapman, E. M., Sanderson, R. G. Ann. intern. Med. 1945, 23, 35. 3. Babey, A. Amer. Heart J. 1937, 13, 228.

A SERVICE FOR DOCTORS AND PATIENTS

Embed Size (px)

Citation preview

410

and treatment may hesitate to go so far as Dr. Tighein excluding them from preventive work. Surely heover-simplifies when he accepts the definition that" preventive medicine is that which starts off with healthand sees to its maintenance, and clinical or curativemedicine is that which starts off with disease and endea-vours to effect its cure or amelioration " I Health anddisease cannot be such definite entities as this implies : ethey are better conceived as different ends of a scalewhich records the degree of success in reacting to environ-ment. Perhaps therefore the clinician need not troubleto pursue, with Dr. Tighe, such academic questions aswhether prevention does or does not embrace treatmentof the small beginnings of disease, or the avoidance ofsequelse. His task is simply to give the help and advicemost likely to be useful to his patient, regardless ofwhether this advice can be labelled curative or pre-ventive.

Any new boundary between the territories of themedical officer of health and the’ practitioner can hardlygive the whole field of preventive medicine to the former.In so far as they must be separated, the natural divisionappears to lie between communal medicine on the onehand and personal medicine on the other. The clinicianis concerned primarily with the individual, while theMOH is concerned primarily with the community. But

preventive medicine can properly be practised by both.

A SERVICE FOR DOCTORS AND PATIENTS

THE problem of disposing of patients in need ofimmediate hospital treatment has exercised both townand country doctors for many years. In 1938 KingEdward’s Hospital Fund for London determined to makean attempt to solve the problem for the London area byinitiating, after discussions with the Voluntary HospitalsCommittee, the Voluntary Hospitals Emergency BedService. This service opened in June, 1938, and in itsfirst year dealt with 7859 cases. The rapid increase inthe number of calls in the first half of 1939, when 5131cases were dealt with, showed that the service wasvalued. At the outbreak of war the work was interruptedfor three weeks, when the whole staff was lent to theMinistry of Health to help in the organisation of theEmergency Medical Service. It was then opened againand records of the period between 1940 and the end ofthe flying-bomb attacks show that calls on it increasedrapidly whenever conditions in London became relativelynormal. Cases dealt with in the first half of 1945 havebeen more numerous than in any other half-year sinceJuly, 1940. It seems that as soon as the London

population becomes stable and hospitals extend theiractivities to pre-war limits, the scope of the service isbound to increase.

It operates on a system now backed by seven years’experience, and has reached a high pitch of efficiency.Doctors who in the past have waited, weary and exasper-ated, by a telephone at their own or at a patient’s house,will be surprised to know that the average number oftelephone calls to hospitals for each admission throughthe Emergency Bed Service has never exceeded 1’7 in anyone year, and has at times been as low as 1-5. The

flexibility of the arrangements is well illustrated by anincident of the flying-bomb period when the buildingwhich housed the EBS was damaged by a flying bombtwo minutes after a call came through. The staff on

duty, despite minor injuries, moved down to the emer-gency telephone in the basement, booked a bed at ahospital, arranged for the ambulance to collect the

patient, and rang the doctor back to say that all arrange-ments had been made, within 20 ininutes of receiving thecall. Happily the service may now look forward toemergencies of a. more peaceable nature, of which it

already has some experience. Its records show that onone occasion it succeeded within 10 minutes in tracing adoctor’s aunt who lived alone in London, and had

disappeared without tace, after being taken acutelyill.Owing to the nature of its work the EBS has a compre-

hensive view of the .hospital needs of the metropolitanarea. It has constant evidence of the acute shortageof accommodation for chronically sick and aged people,who though not presenting acute emergencies need eitherhospital treatment or institutional care. Waiting-listsoffer complex problems : the patient must be allowed tochoose the neighbourhood in which he wants to be treated,and the doctor under whom he is to be admitted; andthe hospital which has advised treatment through itsexpert medical staff must be responsible for carryingthat treatment through to a conclusion. The problemsare greater in magnitude than those already solved,but not different in kind; and having gained theconfidence of doctors and hospital authorities the EBSmay well help to overcome another of their jointdifficulties.

It is important that London doctors should knowwhat the service has to offer at the present time ; besidesbeing able to arrange for the admission of patients tohospital with the least possible delay, it provides anambulance when necessary, and informs the doctor bytelephone when arrangements are complete. The doctoris always asked if he prefers any particular hospital, buthe often leaves the choice open. Before the war, theservice used to work all night : it now operates from 9 AMto 10 PM daily, and hopes to resume all-night servicewhen the labour position becomes easier. In the tele.phone book, it is given under the heading of EmergencyBed Service, the numbers being City 2162 and Clerken-well 6571.

EWART’S SIGN

WHEN William Ewart,l then physician to St. George’sHospital, published his classical paper on pericardialeffusion nearly fifty years ago he described ten diagnosticsigns, the eighth (the posterior pericardial patch of

dullness) and the tenth (the posterior pericardial patchof tubular breathing and segophony) of which togethercame to be known as Ewart’s sign. These findings werefor long accepted as among the classical signs of

pericardial effusion, being ascribed to pulmonary col-lapse as a result of -pressure on the bronchi by thedistended pericardium, although it has also been sug-gested that Ewart’s sign only occurs in rheumatic caseswhere it is due to rheumatic pneumonia. Incidentally,Ewart’s sign is not mentioned in Morton’s revised editionof Garrison’s Medical Bibliography, while one well-known English textbook refers to it as Bamberger’ssign. The specificity of the sign has gradually comeunder suspicion, similar findings having been describedin patients with a large left auricle in whom there was noevidence of a pericardial effusion. American workers 2:

have now suggested that all types of cardiac enlargementmay produce one or more’of the following signs over thelower lobe of the left lung : an areaof dullness just belowthe angle of the left scapula, sometimes only elicited onheavy percussion ; a prolongation of the expiratorybreath-sound varying from that in bronchovesicular

breathing to that obtained in bronchial breathing;diminished breath-sounds ; crepitations ; and an in-creased, almost nasal, vocal resonance. In none of the

patients on whom the American study was based, wasthere any evidence of other conditions, such as pul-monary infarction, congestion, an elevated diaphragmor pericardial effusion, that might account for these

signs. The findings are said to be most common withan enlarged left auricle, as in mitral stenosis, and itshould be remembered that in hypertension the leftauricle is often considerably enlarged and may be

displaced backwards by the hypertrophied left ventricle 31. Ewart, W. Brit. med. J. 1896, i, 717.2. Chapman, E. M., Sanderson, R. G. Ann. intern. Med. 1945, 23, 35.3. Babey, A. Amer. Heart J. 1937, 13, 228.