An Article on the Tennessee Medical College (1892)

Those Persons Entitled to the Charities of Public Institutions Receive the Benefit

Editor Journal — In Thursday’s issue appears an article under the title, “The Medical college” which in part is misleading.  The writer evidently intended to direct public attention to the free dispensary of the Tennessee medical college, which is intended for the benefit of the indigent sick of the city and surrounding country.

The statement that, “the high or low,” if meaning rich or poor, can receive gratuitously, medical and surgical attendance at the college clinics, is a mistake..  This free service is offered only to the poor.  Those who are properly public wards, and who are entitled to the charities of public institutions.  To such the college extends a welcome invitation to accept the privileges of its dispensary.  And to such we wish to say, that the same considerate, careful attention is given, that is bestowed by the family physician upon his most worthy and paying patient.  The students are not only expected to learn, from these clinics, to recognize and properly test disease, but they are taught to regard suffering humanity with sympathy and kindness and accord to the most humble the highest gentlemanly and professional courtesy.  Another statement in the article referred to casts a reflection upon the medical profession, which we are sure was unintentional, but which does injustice to the general profession and the college.

No reputable medical college, claims to offer better medical service than that given by competent physicians in their private practice.  And neither do we believe that any except charlatans resort to unnecessary treatment of operations simply to make a bill.  We claim that the members of the medical, are equally as honest as those of other professions or callings.  While we are satisfied the writers’ words convey a meaning he did not intend, we wish to state the Tennessee medical college entertains no such views.  Now a suggestion to the citizens of our city.  In order that a medical student may become a practical physician, bed side experience is necessary.  Hence medical colleges establish dispensaries, where the poor may receive treatment and the student observe the course of disease.  This is both humane to the needy and of benefit to all mankind.  If the people desire they can turn this opportunity to good account in our own city.  Each one can learn of those in his respective localities, that are sick and are wards of the city.  If they will direct such as can attend the college clinics to do so.  They will be gladly received and kindly treated.  They will also be furnished medicines free of cost to themselves or the city.

J. M. Masters

Source:  Knoxville Daily Journal and Tribune, December 30, 1892, page 3


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