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Title: A Letter on Suspended Animation - containing experiments shewing that it may be safely employed during operations on animals
Author: Hickman, Henry
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Letter on Suspended Animation - containing experiments shewing that it may be safely employed during operations on animals" ***

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Transcribed from the 1824 Office of W. Smith edition by David Price,
email ccx074@pglaf.org

                        [Picture: Pamphlet cover]



                                    A
                                  LETTER
                                    ON
                           SUSPENDED ANIMATION,


                                CONTAINING

                               EXPERIMENTS

             _Shewing that it may be safely employed during_

                          OPERATIONS ON ANIMALS,

                      With the View of ascertaining

            ITS PROBABLE UTILITY IN SURGICAL OPERATIONS ON THE

                              Human Subject,

                              _Addressed to_

                  T. A. KNIGHT, ESQ. OF DOWNTON CASTLE,
                              Herefordshire,
               ONE OF THE PRESIDENTS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY.

                                * * * * *

                            BY DR. H. HICKMAN,
                               OF SHIFFNAL;

        Member of the Royal Medical Societies of Edinburgh, and of
                  the Royal College of Surgeons, London.

                                * * * * *

              IRONBRIDGE: Printed at the Office of W. Smith.
                                  1824.



_TO THE PUBLIC_.


AT the particular request of gentlemen of the first rate talent, and who
rank high in the scientific world, it is, that the author of the
following letter is induced to lay it before the public generally, but
more particularly his medical brethren; in the hope that some one or
other, may be more fortunate in reducing the object of it beyond a
possibility of doubt.  It may be said, and with truth, that publications
are too frequently the vehicles of self-adulation, and as such, suffer
greatly from the lash of severe criticism; but the author begs to assure
his readers, that his views are totally different, merely considering it
a duty incumbent on him, (as a medical practitioner, and servant to the
public), to make known any thing which has not been tried, and which
ultimately may add something towards the relief of human suffering,
arising from acute disease.  The only method of obtaining this end, is,
in the author’s opinion, candid discussion, and liberality of sentiment,
which, too commonly is a deficient ingredient in the welfare of so
important a profession, productive of serious consequences, not only to
the parties themselves, but to the patient whose life is entrusted to
their care.  The duty and object, however, of the Physician and Surgeon,
is generally considered to be the relief of a fellow-creature, by
applying certain remedies to the cure of internal affections, or cutting
some portion of the body, whereby parts are severed from each other
altogether, or relieving cavities of the aggravating cause of disease.
There is not an individual, he believes, who does not shudder at the idea
of an operation, however skilful the Surgeon, or urgent the case, knowing
the great pain that must necessarily be endured; and it is frequently
lamented by the operator himself, that something has not been done to
tranquilize fear, and diminish the agony of the patient.  With this view
of the subject then, it is, that he submits his observations and
experiments to the public in the brief form of a letter to a private
gentleman of the highest talent as a man of science, who with others,
thought them worthy to be laid before the Royal Society; and if one grain
of knowledge can be added to the general fund, to obtain a means for the
relief of pain, the labours of the author will be amply rewarded.



A LETTER, &c.


_Sir_,

THE facility of suspending animation, by carbonic acid gas, and other
means, without permanent injury to the subject, having been long known,
it appears to me rather singular that no experiments have hitherto been
made with the object of ascertaining whether operations could be
successfully performed upon animals whilst in a torpid state; and whether
wounds inflicted upon them in such a state would be found to heal with
greater or less facility than similar wounds inflicted on the same
animals whilst in possession of all their powers of feeling and
suffering.  Several circumstances led me to suspect that wounds made on
animals whilst in a torpid state, would be found, in many cases, to heal
most readily; and the results of some experiments which I have made, lead
me to think that these conjectures are well founded, and to hope that you
will think the results sufficiently interesting to induce you to do me
the honor to lay them before the Royal Society.  The experiments were
necessarily made upon living animals, but they were confined to animals
previously condemned to death; and as their lives were preserved, and
their suffering very slight, (certainly not so great as they would have
sustained if their lives had been taken away by any of the ordinary
methods of killing such animals) I venture to hope that they, in the
aggregate, rather received benefit than injury.  Subjects of different
species were employed, chiefly puppies of a few weeks or months old, and
the experiments were often repeated, but as the results were all uniform,
and as my chief object is to attract the attention of other medical men
to the subject, I wish to do little more than state the general results.

EXPERIMENT 1st.  Dogs of about a month old were placed under a glass
cover, surrounded by water, so as to prevent the ingress of atmospheric
air, where their respiration in a short time ceased, and a part of one
ear of each was then taken off; there was no hemorrhage, and the wounds
were healed at the end of the third day, without any inflammation having
taken place, or the Animals having apparently suffered any pain or
inconvenience from the operation.

EXPERIMENT 2d.  After the same animals had fully recovered their powers
of feeling, a similar part of the other ear of each was taken off; a good
deal of blood now flowed from the wounds, and some degree of inflammation
followed, and the wounds did not heal till the fifth day.

EXPERIMENT 3d.  An experiment was made similar to No. 1, in every
respect, except that the suspension of animation was much more suddenly
brought on by the agency of sulphuric acid and carbonate of Lime.  The
results in this case were not so satisfactory; some blood escaped from
the wounds, and a slight degree of inflammation followed, and the wounds
did not heal so rapidly as the first experiment.

EXPERIMENT 4th.  Mice, having been confined in a glass tube of a foot
long, were rendered insensible by carbonic acid gas slowly introduced in
small quantities, and one foot from each was taken off; no hemorrhage
took place upon the return of sensation, and the wounds appeared quite
healed on the third day, without the animals having apparently suffered
pain, when they were given their liberty.

EXPERIMENT 5th.  An adult dog was rendered insensible by means similar to
the preceding, and the muscles and blood-vessels of one of its legs were
divided.  There was no hemorrhage from the smaller vessels; a ligature
which secured the main artery came away on the fourth day, and the animal
recovered without having at any period shewn any material symptom of
uneasiness.  In this experiment animation was suspended during seventeen
minutes, allowing respiration occasionally to intervene by means of
inflating instruments.

EXPERIMENT 6th.  A dog was rendered insensible by the means employed in
experiment first, and an incision was made through the muscles of the
loin, through which a ligature was passed, and made tight; no appearance
whatever of suffering occurred upon the return of animation, nor till the
following day, when inflammation came on with subsequent suppuration.
The ligature came away on the seventh day, and on the twelfth the wound
was healed.

                                * * * * *

As the recital of such experiments as those preceding must be as little
agreeable to you, as the repetition of them has been to myself, I shall
not give a detail of any others, but shall only state the opinions which
the aggregate results have led me to entertain.  I feel perfectly
satisfied that any surgical operation might be performed with quite as
much safety upon a subject in an insensible state, as in a sensible
state, and that a patient might be kept with perfect safety long enough
in an insensible state, for the performance of the most tedious
operation.  My own experience has also satisfied me that in very many
cases the best effects would be produced by the patient’s mind being
relieved from the anticipation of suffering, and his body from the actual
suffering of a severe operation; and I believe that there are few, if any
Surgeons, who could not operate more skillfully when they were conscious
they were not inflicting pain.  There are also many cases in which it
would be important to prevent any considerable hemorrhage, and in which
the surgeon would feel the advantages of a diminished flow of blood
during an operation.  I have reason to believe that no injurious
consequence would follow if the necessity of the case should call for
more than once suspension of animation; for a young growing dog was
several times rendered insensible by carbonic acid gas, with intervals of
about twenty-four or forty-eight hours, without sustaining, apparently,
the slightest injury.  Its appetite continued perfectly good, and I
ascertained, by weighing it, that it gained weight rapidly.  I am not, at
present, aware of any source of danger to a patient, from an operation
performed during a state of insensibility, which would not operate to the
same extent upon a patient in full possession of his powers of suffering,
particularly if he were rendered insensible by being simply subjected to
respire confined air.  I used inflating instruments in one experiment
only, and therefore am not prepared to say to what extent such may be
used with advantage; but I think it probable that those and the Galvanic
fluid would operate in restoring animation in some cases.  I was prepared
to employ the Galvanic fluid if any case had occurred to render the
operation of any stimulant necessary, but all the subjects recovered by
being simply exposed to the open air; and I feel so confident that
animation in the human subject could be safely suspended by proper means,
carefully employed, that, (although I could not conscientiously recommend
a patient to risk his life in the experiment,) I certainly should not
hesitate a moment to become the subject of it, if I were under the
necessity of suffering any long or severe operation,

                            _I remain_, _Sir_,

                                                  _Your obedient Servant_,
                                                            H. H. HICKMAN.

_Shifnal_, _Aug._ 14_th_, 1824.

                                * * * * *

                                  FINIS.





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