Page:Hospitals, medical science and public health.djvu/11

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AND PUBLIC HEALTH

day I asked a distinguished physician and a distinguished surgeon on the staffs of two leading London hospitals if it paid them, however indirectly, to devote thus their priceless services for the sick, and for the raising up of successors like themselves? They answered almost in the same words, "The time I give to the hospital costs me 20 or 30 guineas a week"—surely a more than ample pecuniary recompense for any promotion in earlier years. Moreover, even in London, and more generally in the provinces, a man of parts and address, starting independently of a hospital, has opportunities of material gain on the average as good as, and far quicker in return than, those of his fellow student who, more disdainful of commercial balances, at the hospital devotes himself in the first instance to science and charity. Yet it is on these men who love the work that the virtues and the honours of a great hospital chiefly depend.

Let us put it more plainly; a layman, with a purse in his hand, and a physician stand on either side of the bed of a sick man. The layman offers to spend £5 on the patient if the physician of his learning and benevolence will convert this cash into means of solace and cure. Neither partner is of much use to the sick man without the other. The man with the banknote cannot, it is true, allow the physician to spend the money uncontrolled; yet, on the other hand, without the physician his money would be wasted. The partners, then, are not master and servant, but comrades; and if with many banknotes and many patients a great healing engine is created, the principle of frank and equal partnership is not modified. If the expert, after the manner of experts, is prone sometimes to forget the relative proportions of things, to push ideas beyond the limits of common sense, to be importunate, or even extravagant, the layman on his side is as prone to be domineering, meddlesome, and short-sighted. Everything in the healing machine costs money, and the layman, who makes great sacrifices financially, must regard the ultimate economy of it; but, as everything in it is also therapeutical, whatsoever he may do or avoid affects more or less directly the treatment of the patients; whether it be, let us say, the heating and ventilation, the decoration of the walls, or even the baking of the bread and the quality of the blankets. Unless, then, the lay manager keep incessantly in