The Scalpel, The Sword

The Scalpel, The Sword

I5o THE BRITISH JOURNAL OF T U B E R C U L O S I S adaptation and the technique of screening are good; but the larger part of the book concerned wi...

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I5o

THE BRITISH JOURNAL

OF T U B E R C U L O S I S

adaptation and the technique of screening are good; but the larger part of the book concerned with the results is less successful. The author places too much emphasis on diagnosis--surely there is little point in attempting to distinguish on the screen between silicosis and sarcoid? Not enough space is given to conditions which are best investigated by fluoroscopy, such as obstructive emphysema and eventration. The section on the heart is poor: valvular calcification is barely mentioned and hilar pulsation and the alteration in the lung field vascularity in congenital heart disease is not discussed. This is only a slim volume, but it could with advantage be even slimmer, as m a n y of the author's explanations are improbable, though his observations m a y be correct. The book is a translation from the German which has been rearranged in America; the result is often long-winded and sometimes difficult to understand. JoHn PIERCE.

The Scalpel, The Sword. The Story of Dr. Norman Bethune. By SIDN~Y GORDON and TED ALLEN. London: Robert Hale Ltd, I954. PP. 271. Price I6S. Dr. Norman Bethune was a stimulating if at times unstable personality and there is no doubt that his biography is a stimulating and enthralling book. He was a man who dedicated himself unreservedly to the cause of the moment, whether it was artificial pneumothorax, thoracic surgery, the Spanish Civil War or the Sino-Japanese war, and his pioneering work in field surgery anticipated such work in the second World War. He was a m a n of tremendous personal courage, but one feels that he increased the odds against himself by his inability to delegate authority. Those who were closest to him became imbued with his own selflessness, but one feels there were m a n y who were antagonised by his ruthlessness, and had he been a little more unstinting in what he gave of himself the world would not have been the poorer by the untimely death of one who was, from m a n y points of view, a saint. Dr. Bethune became successively a socialist and a communist. It requires little imagination to realise how m a n y of his Canadian colleagues he would alienate in this evolution during the I93OS. History has not yet pronounced a final verdict on his opinions, but the reader of this book cannot fail to be enlisted on the side of those whom he fought to succour. As a clinician he has perhaps been superseded, but in his versatility--he was painter, sculptor and author as well as a d o c t o r w h e embodied the highest qualities of the medical profession, recognising the spiritual ills of man no less than his physical ones. " The Scalpel, The Sword," is not primarily for the medical reader--some doctors may find in Bethune's life an inspiration, but all will find in it the portrait of a dynamic and, for all his faults, a magnificent personality.

The Brompton Hospital. The Story of a Great Adventure. By MAURICE DAVlDSON and F. G. Ro~vRAy. London: Lloyd-Luke (Medical Books), 1954. Pp. I52. 2IS. Although The Royal Chest Hospital was founded some years before the Brompton Hospital, the latter has for m a n y years been synonymous with diseases of the chest, to lay as well as to medical men. It is difficult for this generation to realise that in 184o the doors of hospitals were closed to victims of tuberculosis, which was then a far greater and more widespread scourge than it is today. Sir Philip Rose, the founder of the Brompton, has been a

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