Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Imagination Aids Surgery


How a Woman Was Cured of Lameness Which Did Not Exist.

"Imagination is not to be sneezed at," said a prominent surgeon the other day as his eyes followed the brisk movements of a middle aged woman who was passing.

"Three years ago," said he, "that woman came to one of the hospitals of the city and engaged a private room. She drove to the institution in a carriage and was carried to her bed on a stretcher. she insisted that one of her ankles was helpless, and that she could not walk. The house surgeon made an examination and could not discover that she had the slightest ailment. The next day the head surgeon looked over her carefully and came to the same conclusion. What is more, being a somewhat brusque and outspoken person, he said as much to her. At this she was very indignant and insisted upon keeping her bed. No amount of persuasion could induce her to make any effort to walk, and she insisted that her ankle was helpless and so sensitive that the slightest touch of her foot to the ground caused her the most acute pain.

"Finding all efforts to persuade her to do anything for herself fruitless, the surgical staff held a consultation and determined to humor her. Consequently the following day the woman was told that she was suffering from a serious ailment, and preparations for an operation were made with a great parade of nurses, instruments and the like. The patient was then placed under the influence of an anesthetic, and a slight incision was made over the ankle joint. This was merely superficial, although it was several inches in length. It was immediately sewed up, carefully bandaged and the patient removed to her bed, where she found herself when she recovered consciousness. After this she was subjected to the same care that would be given to the most serious cases for two weeks. The wound was dressed daily, the patient was enjoined to remain in one position, and her diet was carefully prescribed. At the end of this time the bandages were removed, the stitches taken out, and a few days later the woman walked out of the hospital as well as you see her today. There had never been the slightest thing the matter with her, but she thought there was, and the pretended operation satisfied her." — Rochester Democrat.

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