صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

cal studies, and the practice of medicine in Egypt, exclusively belongs to them.

Nevertheless it is undoubted, that scarcely had the Italians taken the first step in the beneficent restoration (1824,) than the eminent Doctor Clor, a Frenchman in the Viceroy's service as Physician and SurgeonGeneral, succeeded, with several other sanitarian officers, countrymen of his, in completing the fabric thus commenced; and we are far from denying him our meed of well-merited praise, and avow and acknowledge with pleasure the very important services rendered by him to the science and to the country. But he completed, and did not commence, the work : this is what truth compels us to affirm distinctly. Especially as in all the improvements introduced by him, his designs were never disunited from those of MARTINI, Inspector-General of the Military Medical Service.

Au reste, when we allude to the regeneration of medicine in Egypt, we are very far from understanding that the science is as flourishing and diffused there as the phrase may seem prima facie to imply; for although there exists a remarkable difference for the better be. tween the past and the present, it is undeniable, nerertheless, that the new plant has not yet produced that fruit which might have been- ex. pected from it. A mournful fact, but no less authentic, as will evidently appear from the particulars we are about to enumerate.

Having premised these brief observations on the historical part of the subject (for the correctness of which we ourselves carefully vouch, hav. ing been not only witnesses, but a party of what we relate) we shall now proceed to lay down, in separate paragraphs, those special points, from the assemblage of which results the actual state of medical knowledge in that country.

The establishment of an Hospital at Abou-Zabel (a village about twelve Italian miles to the north of Cairo, on the borders of the desert of Kanka) was, as we have stated, the first countersign of the regeneration of medical knowledge in Egypt.

Beside the salubrity of the air, and the abundance of water (although the latter is somewhat brackish), and all other conveniences requisite for the erection of such institutions, all wonderfully concurring at Abou-Zabel, this spot was selected especially because being close to the review-field of the new Egyptian troops, it might readily serve for the care of the invalids ; and the Government would thus have before its eyes a practical example of the advantages that its armies might in time derive from that sort of sanitary establishments

. The edifice was erected A. D. 1822 on the ruins of ancient cavalry barracks: it was completed six years after (1827) when Dr. CLOT,

[ocr errors]

recently charged with the head management of the Sanitary Department, made it the object of his most ardent solicitude.

The Hospital of Abou-Zabel, which surpasses in size, as it does in priority of existence, all similar buildings subsequently erected in Egypt, is a perfect square of 150 metres, every side consisting of a double row of saloons, divided by an intermediate corridor forming their entrance. There are thirty-two halls, each containing fifty beds arranged in a double row. The saloons are exceedingly lightsome and well ventilated, being illuminated each by sixteen large windows, which however does not debar the deplorable effects that result from the reunion of an immense number of sick in a single edifice-a constant proof that smaller Hospitals are preferable to extensive ones in all quarters of the globe. *

The area enclosed within the four sides of the building has been appropriated to the use of a Botanical Garden. In the middle of it is to be found a square house containing the Dispensary, Dissecting Room, Baths, Kitchen, a Sakia, or draw-well, and other ordinary complements

of an Hospital.

The Botanical Garden is subdivided into two sections, containing an exact repetition of the identical plants. The first is appropriated to the study of Linneus' system, and the other to that of Jussieu's method.

The edifice is surrounded on three sides by a high wall, about a hundred paces distant from the body of the building. The vast tract of land intervening between the one side and the other is covered with trees and divers other plants, which abundantly supply fruits and other nutritious vegetables ; it also offers a commodious promenade to the invalids. This exterior wall answers the purpose of isolating the establishment-an inestimable advantage for various reasons, especially in countries like Egypt, frequently infested with contagious maladies. Although the Hospital of Abou-Zabel is chiefly intended for the

We recommend this passage to the attention of the Municipal Committee, and of the projectors of certain Hospitals said to be intended for Calcutta. The new Clinical Hospital just completed on the grounds of the Medical College will contain eighty patients It is a square building on arches, 74 feet square, divided into three Wards with two intervening Corridors. The clear length of each Ward is 70 feet, the breadth 20 feet

, the height 18 feet, and the Corridors each 70 feet long, 12 feet broad, and 18 feet high. The rooms are fully ventilated by lofty windows, doors, and spiracles. This building has cost but 8,000 Rs. In the plans adopted by the Municipal Committee an Hospital for one hundred and twenty patients is to cost 97,000 Rs., another plan for an Hospital for twenty patients is sanctioned by the Committee at 34,000 Rs. This may excite a smile, but let us not be unreasonable. It is peradventure wise to lodge the perishing pauper with the magnificence of a prince.—Eds.

military, still the indigent sick of all the surrounding villages obtain there gratuitous succour and advice.

The internal government of the Hospital, and in general all its various departments, were scrupulously modelled after the Hospitals of Europe.

The utility of the establishment in question being rapidly under. stood, with that evidence which is so necessary to influence the indolent spirits of the Easterns, other minor Hospitals began to be gradually instituted in various quarters of the country, there being at present six, beside several Infirmaries ; viz. one at Cairo, named Esbequich; one at Kassr-el-ain, for the alumni of the elementary School-house; a third at Furrah ; a fourth at Damietta ; and the fifth and sixth at Alexandria for the army and navy troops.

Prior to the year 1834, there was no Hospital specially intended for non-military patients. The decree issued about that period by his Highness may be considered an interesting piece of novelty, because one of the Alexandria Hospitals, which had been originally destined for the navy, was then thrown open indiscriminately to all, whether Arabians or Christians, or of any other persuasion, as well subjects as foreigners, if destitute of means.

Although that was perhaps the effect of the wise ReFORMER'S policy, it was nevertheless a remarkable token of progress, when we reflect on the antipathy that had for the past divided the Mahometans from the professors of every other creed.

With regard to the Hospital of Abou-Zabel, and the two others of Alexandria, especially that denominated Ras-el-tim, it can be affirmed, without flattery, that they are in a most satisfactory state at present, and that they might be honorably compared with many similar institutions in Europe. The others, mostly the work of Arabs, and imperfect copies of the former prototypes, still retain the impress of antique barbarism, and to them may be justly applied the words of the divine Poet:

“Non ragioniam di lor, ma garda e pass." Following the example of Constantinople, Smyrna, and other cities of the Levant, the European powers that hold commercial intercourse with Egypt established an Hospital in Alexandria for their respective subjects, with this difference however, that while in the above named cities each European nation has it own Hospital apart, in Alexandria, considering the minor number of European strangers, they deemed one Hospital, to be managed with common funds and laws, would

* "Let us not speak of them, but look and pass on."-DANTE.

amply suffice promiscuously for all. The election of the Physician and other officials for this institution, is yearly made by the Consular body and other contributors by the majority of votes. Extreme is the neatness and regularity of attendance introduced into this Hospital, and we are gratified in being enabled to bestow our well-merited meed of praise on the directors of it, while we, at the same time, submit our hope, that in the election of the Physician, they may for the future value more than they have heretofore done, the intrinsic merits of the individual, and pay no regard to a spirit of vain nationality, which so often proves fatal to its unfortunate inmates.*

Regarding those infected with the plague, we shall have occasion to allude to them when speaking of the Lazarettos, in the important matter of sanitarial treatment.

The rare advantage of the Abou-Zabel Hospital induced Dr. CLOT, Physician-General, to propose to the Egyptian government the institution of a Medical School for the formation of Native alumni, capable in time of succeeding the European doctors, on whom depended the medical management and attendance both of that head Hospital and of the other Infirmaries, as well as of the army. The body of European physicians then practising in Egypt, fortunately presented the number of Professors requisite to occupy the various chairs of the intended institute, and Dr. Clot wisely opined that so favourable an opportunity should be availed of to attain with facility and economy the object he had in view. The necessity of such an establishment was too evident for the Egyptian government not to second the proposal of the French Physician-General; but there were mighty and various obstacles yet to be surmounted.

• It would not be here inopportune to make mention of a small Greek Hospital, if it were completed, or worthy of observation. Hence we omit enumerating it among the Hospitals of Alexandria. Nevertheless we cannot refrain from commending the noble efforts of the Chev. Fossizza towards its erection and support, in which he has not yet relaxed.

Apropos of the above mentioned individual, we feel pleasure in giving a brief account of his merits and influence in Egypt.

The Chev. FossiZZA, a wealthy Greek merchant of Mezzovo in Albania (Epirus), and now Consul-General of his Majesty King Otho, is one of the most distinguished personages who are about the illustrious Reformer, MEHEMET ALY, on account of the high degree of confidence he enjoys, in as much as being wholly devoted to his wishes, he succeeded so well both in the administration of the state, and in the most difficult political circumstances of the Government, in comforting him, by seconding all his cogitations and devices, as well as by assisting him with his vast commercial knowledge in his traffic computations, and so by reviving in an extraordinary manner the home as well as the foreign trade; moreover, he is still more commendable on this account, because he uses his interest with the Pacha to forward the distribution of his princely munificence among the meritorious. Hence the Chev. Fossizza is generally esteemed by the Europeans as well as the foreign Consuls in Egypt.

[ocr errors]

The first obstacle was the impossibility of finding eleves who could speak French, Italian, or any other European tongue. This could not be overcome but through the means of interpreters, who might convey to the scholars the sentiments of the Professors. But in order that the interpretation of such mediums might be correct, they themselves should indispensably have been initiated in the science they were to convey : whence the interpreters were necessarily to be instructed prior to the eleves.

The second was to introduce among the Arabs the study of anatomy, which involved the dissipation of their religious prejudices, as to them it appears an enormous sacrilege to apply a dissecting knife to the remains of the defunct.

The third, finally, was the deficiency of books, instruments, and that multifarious assortment of other implements, which are essential for the first opening of such an establishment among a barbarous and unpolished people, like the Egyptians.

All these difficulties, albeit numerous and intricate, disappeared before the zeal of Dr. Clot, and of the head Physician and InspectorGeneral, Dr. MARTINI; and in a short period Egypt saw opened at Abou-Zabel a School of Medicine, which, although imperfect like every other infant institution, resembled Aurora, the forerunner of light, amidst the darkness of deep and disgraceful ignorance.

The first obstacle alluded to was surmounted by appointing various interpreters, sufficiently instructed in the oriental languages, and not totally unacquainted with medical pursuits. In the mean time, however, so as not to be perpetually obliged to have recourse to their assistance, which was essentially supplementary, a course of European languages, especially French and Italian, was commenced. Signor Ucelli (Piedmontese) and Signori RAFFAEL, AUTHORI, SAKAKINI, and Zaccara undertook and supported with honor this double duty of interpreting the lectures of the Professors, and of instructing the Ara. bian alumni in the European tongues.*

The second impediment was overcome by the firmness of the Government, and its well known indifference for religious opinions, as well national as foreign. For by suggestion of the European doctors the most influential Sheiks were informed that the opening of the dead for the benefit of the living, in place of being brutality and cruel. ty as they would fain have it believed, was a pious and philanthropic act; and they were shown that the Pacha in this respect had no intention of being annoyed; and so shortly disappeared all objections

The respectable Signors should have commenced by studying medicine themselves.--Eps.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »