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DUST AND DISEASE. 301

there was no absolute security of immunity from bad consequences.
However carefully the procedure was condupted, it sometimes happened,
even though the puncture seemed healing by first intention, that feverish
symptoms declared themselves in the course of the first or second day,
and, on inspecting the seat of the abscess, the skin was, perhaps, seen to
be red, implying the presence of some cause of irritation, while a rapid
reaccumulation of the fluid was found to have occurred. Under these
circumstances, it became necessary to Open the abscess by free incision,
when a quantity, large in proportion to the size of the abscess, say, for
example, a quart, of pus escaped, fetid from putrefaction. Now, how
bad this change been brought about? Without the germ-theory, I
venture to say, no rational explanation of it could have been given. It
must have been caused by the introduction of something from without.
Inflammation of the punctured wound, even supposing it to have oc-
curred, would not explain the phenomenon. For mere inflammation,
whether acute or chronic, though it occasions the formation of pus, does
not induce putrefaction. The pus originally evacuated was perfectly
sweet, and we know of nothing to account for the alteration in its quality
but the influence of something derived from the external world. And
what could that something be? The dipping of the instrument in oil,
and the subsequent precautions, prevented the entrance of oxygen. ' Or
even if you allowed that a few atoms of the gas did enter, it would be
an extraordinary assumption to make that these could in so short a time
effect such changes in so large a mass of albuminous material. Besides,
the pyogenic membrane is abundantly supplied with capillary vessels,
through which arterial blood, rich in oxygen, is perpetually flowing;
and there can be little doubt that the pus, before it was evacuated at
all, was liable to any action which the element might be disposed to
exert upon it.

On the oxygen-theory, then, the occurrence of putrefaction under
these circumstances is quite inexplicable. But if you admit the germ-
theory, the difliculty vanishes at once. The canula and trocar having
been lying exposed to the air, dust will have been deposited upon them,
and will be present in the angle between the trocar and the silver tube,
and in that protected situation will fail to be wiped Off when the instru-
ment is thrust through the tissues. Thus when‘the trocar is withdrawn,
some portions of this dust will naturally remain upon the margin of the
canula, which is left projecting into the abscess, and nothing is more
likely than that some particles may fail to be washed off by the stream
of out-flowing pus, but may be dislodged when the tube is taken out,
and left behind in the cavity. The germ-theory tells us that these par

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