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JAMA 100 Years Ago
November 18, 1998


JAMA. 1998;280(19):1658C. doi:10.1001/jama.280.19.1658

Artificial Assistants.—The Burlesque number of the Munich Med. Woch,, issued on the sixty-fifth anniversary of the local medical society, is an exact reproduction of the regular make-up, but sparkling with fun in every line. The rear outer cover is a display ad. of artificial assistants for surgeons, etc. "The disadvantages of the living assistants hitherto in use are familiar to all. They assist, but have too many annoying ‘secondary effects.' Some are unable to keep their mouth shut, some have ‘exaggerated reflex excitability,' some have opinions that differ from those of their chief and criticise him, some leave matches around and the gas burning, some shock spectators by their lack of gentleness. These drawbacks are all entirely obviated with our new patent glass and iron assistants, transparent, sterilizable, to connect with either electric or steam power. They are supplied in two grades, smooth or rough finish, for private practice or general hospital work. They are adjusted for only one or two specialties each, but extra specialty appliances can be screwed on as desired. Assistants for surgeons: Say ‘sponge' and ‘gauze' : Style A. Wipes 10 times a minute, 1200 Marks; B. Wipes 20 times a minute, 1300 M.; C. No hinge in back, 1100 M.; D. Without buttocks (an important improvement, allowing spectators complete oversight of the operation) 2000 M. For internal medicine: Do percussion, and find albumin in urine: A. Once an hour, 100M.; B. Three times an hour, 150 M.; C. Stain bacilli, 200 M. For obstetrics and gynecology: Style A. Automatically perform vaginofixation on every uterus, 10 M.; B. Ditto vesicofixation (new), 20 M.; C. Antefixation according to indications, 200 M.; D. Abhor all therapeutic treatment of retroflexion, 600M., etc." The leading article is a report of successful experimentation to secure asexual propagation of the human species by fission, accomplished by administering an extract, Tolstoidin, thus named from the idea having been suggested by the disapproval of the sexual methods expressed in Tolstoi's "Kreutzer Sonata."

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