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3 OO FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

and who are most ready to admit, as regards even higher
things than this, the potentialities of matter, will be the
last to accept these rash hypotheses.

T/Le Germ-Theory applied to Surgery.

Not only medical but surgicalscience is now seeking
light and guidance from this germ-theory. Upon it the
antiseptic system of Professor Lister, of Edinburgh, is
founded; and if the facts be correctly given, the results
are extraordinary. As already stated, the germ-theory of
putrefaction was started by Schwann, but the illustrations
of this theory adduced by Professor Lister are of such pub-
lic moment as not only to justify, but to render imperative,
their introduction here:

Schwann’s observations, says Professor Lister, did not'receive the
attention which they appear to me to have deserved. The fermentation
of sugar was generally allowed to be occasioned by the torula cerevisiae ;
but it was not admitted that putrefaction was due to an analogous
agency. And yet the two cases present a very striking parallel. In
each a stable chemical compound, sugar in the one case, albumen in the
other, undergoes extraordinary chemical changes under the influence of
an excessively minute quantity of a substance which, regarded chemi-
cally, we should suppose inert. As an example of this in the case of
putrefaction, let us take a circumstance often witnessed in the treatment
of large chronic abscesses. In order to guard against the access of at-
mospheric air, we used to draw off the matter by means of a canula and
trocar, such as you see here, consisting of a silver tube with a sharp-
pointed steel rod fitted into it, and projecting beyond it. The instru-
ment, dipped in oil, was thrust into the cavity of the abscess, the trocar
was withdrawn, and the pus flowed out through the canula, care being
taken by gentle pressure over the part to prevent the possibility of
regurgitation. The canula was then drawn out with due precaution
against the reflux of air. This method was frequently successful as to
its immediate object, the patient being relieved from the mass of the ac-
cumulated fluid, and experiencing no inconvenience from the Operation.
But the pus was pretty certain to reaccumulate in course of time, and it
became necessary again and again to repeat the process. And unhappily

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