The medical State.
--A correspondent in a late number of the Dispatch
expresses the opinion that the medical men of the army are unjustly held responsible for sickness and neglect which are often the fault of other departments.
The unhealthy location of a camp, mismanagement in the Commissary
's and Quartermaster
's departments, it is urged, may have caused many of the grievances of which the public complain.
The long and continued inaction of the troops, resting out the very marrow of their life, has also exerted its influence.
We dare say that the doctors, as our correspondent alleges, are not the only ones who should be held responsible for the sufferings of our men during the last summer.
Nor do we doubt that there are many good physicians in the army.
We know some of them personally, and are acquainted by reputation with others.
They are gentlemen of eminent skill, of conscientiousness, and fidelity.
They are as incapable of receiving the liberal compensation which surgeons receive, ($2,400 per annum,) and neglecting their duty, as they are of highway robbery.
We have no complaint to make of such men. We respect their noble profession, and we think none the less of it, that all but the quacks in that profession have come to the conclusion that the less medicine you give a patient the better.
But we hear that there are not a few incompetent surgeons in the army, and that in all probability they are producing a fatality greater than could be effected by the combined powers of McClellan
, and Fremont
It is believed that all the balls thrown by the ships in the Potomac
, and the batteries on the shore, have not done as much damage to the Confederate army as the boluses of some of these doctors.
We understand that a distinguished physician expresses the opinion that the army would be better off without doctors altogether, because the good ones cannot do as much good as the incompetent do harm.
Our attention has also been called to another fact which demands attention.
It is that if surgeons are able to pursue their private practice, half the present salary of $2,400 would be compensation enough.
If a patient is able to be killed at eleven dollars a month, a physician, who has other sources of income, ought to be willing to kill him at a hundred.
The satisfaction of taking a man off secundum artem
would be an ample compensation for any deficiency of pecuniary emolument.
The salaries of chaplains in the army-have been reduced to five or six hundred dollars. --The cure of souls is as important as the cure of bodies.
Let this wrong be redressed, and the pay of chaplains be made at least half as much as that of surgeons.
We ought to have good chaplains in the army, educated, pious, philosophical men, who can sweeten by their words of wisdom and consolation the bitterest pill that the private has to take.