SOLDIER PATIENTS LAUD WORK OF INSULIN CLINICS
Express Disapproval of Action of Parkdale G.W.V.A. in Protesting Against Treatment at Christie Street Hospital, and Tell of Marvelous Results in Their Own Cases.
DR. GILCHRIST EXPLAINS THE SITUATION
An attempt on the part of the Pakdale branch of the G. W. V. A. supported by the Anti-Vivisection Society of Toronto to prevent the adiministration of insulin to the patients in Christie Street Hospital has been answered by an emphatic denial of the charges of cruelty and harsh treatment of patients. Dr. Banting, Dr. Jos. Gilchrist, and the
patients themselves have united in expressing their displeasure at such an attempt on the part of any society or organization.
Dr. Gilchrist's Lecture.
On December 28th, 1922, in a lecture on the use of the insulin treatment in the Christie Street Hospial, Dr. Jos. Gilchrist, who in conjunction with Dr. Banting has had charge of the diabetes clinic In that hospital, speaking of the difficulty of prescribing a state does of insulin for every treatment or patient, referred to one patient who, after having received a treatment of insulin which was later found to be an overdose developed a decidedly reaction and evinced a strong desire to climb the walls of the ward. Dr. Gilchrist also pointed out that a small dose of glucose produed an immediate cessation of the reaction.
This lecture, reported by The Toronto Daily Star of December 29th, attracted the attention of Miss Lily Carruthers, an active member of the Anti-Vivisection Society of Toronto
who immediately forwarded the clipping with a letter of protest to the Parkdale branch of the G. W. V. A. requesting that the branch take soem action in the matter.
Without any further information, and without any attempt to satisfy themselves as to the correctness of the report or as to the actual conditions in the diabetic "ward of the
Christie Street Hospital, they proceeded to pass a resolution as follows:
Resolution: MOved by Comrade Tuck, seconded by Comrade Copeland. "Resolved, we would not be
understood as blocking any scientific reseraches tending to the relief of diabetes, and our interest is heightened when we learn that, fish, rabbits, dogs, and the patients in
Christie Street Hospital are the subjects of experiments in the use of insulin. To us, it seems only in accordance with the prevalent greatful treatment of men whose frames have
been appallingly racked on the battlefield, that they should be administered extracts that throw them into convulsions or cause them to climb the walls of the eperimental chamber
of torture." (Carried.)
Case of Joseph Martin. J
The attitude of the Canadian Anti-vivisection Society is further demonstrated by a letter from the British Columbia branch of that organization to Hon. H. S. Beland, minister of public health at Ottawa, in which it is stated that "The Anti-vivisection Societies of B. C., representing a large number of interested persons, emphatically protest the use of public funds for any such purpose, or for any vivisectional research.
"The diabetes 'remedy' has never been proved and is said to have caused great harm in many cases. Note for example, the condition of Joseph Martin, K.C., Vancouver, B.C., who took the insulin treatment and is now lying at the point of "death.
"We object to money used in this way both on moral and scientific grounds. Moreover, we have statements from the highest medical and scientific sources, that the use of serums, and animal organ extracts, is having a deleterious effect on the public health and that deaths from diseases so treated have in no case shown an increase. (See returns of the Registrar General of England.)"
When a copy of the resolution passed by the Parkdale G. W. V. A. was sent to The Star, a reporter looked into the matter.
Comrade Smith, secretary of the Parkdale G. W. V. A., yesterday identified the resolution as having been the one passed by the branch on January 23rd. He further admitted that the branch had possessed no further information than that in the clipping and the letter from Miss Carruthers, and that they had acted solely on this information.
Dr. Banting's Statement.
When the above resolution was shown to Dr. Banting, he at once issued the following emphatic denial:
"There has not been one single patient in the Christie Street Hospital who has gone into convulsions. Every patient takes treatment voluntarily."
When this action on the part of the British Columbia organization became known, The Star made inquiries in Vancouver concerning Mr. Martin's reported illness, and was informed that it had nothing whatever to do with insulin or insulin "treatment. He is suffering from a complication of diseases.
Dr. Banting made no comment on the letter from Victoria, B.C., but suggested that the patients in Christie Street Hospital who are taking the insulin treatment would naturally be the ones to give their opinions on the matter.
Dr. Banting is the head of the diabetes clinic in the Christie Street Hospital. He has been ably assisted by Dr. Jos. Gilchrist, whose statement has caused such a commotion in the ranks of the G.W.V.A., and the anti-vivisectionists. Interviewed last night by The Star, Dr. Gilchrist explained fully the unfortunate remark which he had made.
In the earlier days of the treatment it was more or less impossible to determine the strength of the particular extract used, as this strength varied in different batches. The case in question was one where the patient had been exceptionally susceptible to the action of insulin, that is to say, his blood sugar had lowered very rapidly after treatment, thus producing a certain feeling of light-headedness. There had been no sign of any convulsion, and on receiving a small dose of glucose (ordinary sugar) he had quieted down within a very few minutes. Dr. Gilchrist endorsed the denial issued by Dr. Banting, and made arrangements to have The Star visit the diabetic ward of the Christie Street Hospital this morning.
Copy of Declaration.
At the hospital this morning The Star received a copy of the declaration which is signed by all patients taking the Banting treatment.
Dr. Banting's Diabetic Treatment. I, ...... Name ...... No. ...... had Doctor Banting's treatment thoroughly explained to me, and understand that it has not yet reached a stage of finality-that there is in connection with the treatment some experimental work to be done, and also that there is an element of risk, in that it is not yet fully known just what the treatment will do.
I am taking treatment on my own decision, with the above in mind.
The Star visited the clinic where the treatments are given, the laboratory where the extracts are tested, and the diet kitchen where the special foods are prepared.
There are nine diabetic patients at present in the hospital, and of these The Star interviewed six, the other three being out of the building at the time.
J. Doherty came to the hospital eight months ago in a state of marked mental lethargy, in a state of marked mental lethargy, in fact, almost in a state of coma. He was almost literally a mass of skin and bones, and the hospital authorities fully expected that he would die within a few days. Since that time he has gained 25 lbs.; his skin, which had become dry and brown like that of a mummy, is now fresh, solid and pink; his eyes sparkle, and he declares that he is fit for anything.
R. McGrath came to the hospital from Montreal on December 9, and while not as bad as Doherty, was quite dangerously ill. In the little over three months that he has been under treatment he has gained 21 lbs., and feels very much stronger. Mr. McGrath, in common with all the other patients, scoffed at the idea of compulsory treatments. "It was offered to me at my own discretion in Montreal, and I decided to take it and came here," said McGrath.
J. McGill has gained 13 lbs. in nine months. The Star suggested that perhaps he was a milder case when he came in.
"I was as bad as I want to be," said McGill.
"I'm a different man now, no dizziness, no headaches."
"Was the treatment severe?" he was asked.
"Naw," came the reply in tones of the deepest disgust.
"Would you take it again, knowing what you know now?"
"I sure would, if I got the chance."
"I think it will add a good many years to my life," continued Mr. McGill, "when I came in here I was always tired, and always hunting for a place to sit down. Now I'd just as soon stand up as sit down."
S. C. McConaghy weighed 103 lbs. when he entered the hospital seven months ago, and since that time has gained 32 lbs. Asked if he had felt any bad effects from the treatment he replied that he had felt nothing but good effects all the time.
"When I came here I had to stop half-a-dozen times between here and the corner (about 150 yards), and now I can walk three or four miles without any trouble."
"Would you take it again?" "I sure would."
Gained 13 Pounds.
Lieut. R. S. Jackson has gained 13 lbs. in 2 months, in spite of the fact that during that time he has had a bad attack of flu. He had felt no bad effects, and expressed himself as perfectly satisfied. "It has certainly been a wonderful help to me."
Mr. Jackson has suffered from diabetes for a number of years and after a year in the Queen Alexandra Sanitarium in London was losing weight when he came to Christie Street.
As The Star left Mr. Jackson remarked, "I consider, myself, that it's given me a chance for my life."
Lieut. W. C. Woods who came all the way from Saskatoon to take the treatment has gained 15 Ibs. during his stay of three months. He returns next month to take up his farm work and will continue to administer treatments of insulin to himself.
Asked if he would take the treatment again, he replied, "You bet I would."
All the patients were unanimous in their censure of the Parkdale Branch for their uncalled-for action, and expressed their surprise that the association had not at least investigated conditions before drafting such a resolution.
The Star also visited the case to which Dr. Gilchrist referred December, a Mr. Ostrom of 17 Marchmont Street who has since been discharged from hospital and has taken up his old employment. Mr. Ostrom admitted having had certain pronounced reactions, but added: "I
would be willing to climb the C.P.R. building if I could get the benefit that I got from the treatment." He further pointed out that such a reaction was unavoidable in his case as it was merely the result of a greater susceptibility to the action of insulin on his part, and had nothing to do with the dose administered.
Administer Own Injections.
In the laboratory which has been equipped for the diabetic work at a cost of several thousand dollars, the patients are taught how to find the strength of the extract, and to
make bloodtests for the amount of sugar in their own blood. The majority of the patients are now administering their own treatments under supervision.
The diet is specially prepared for diabetic patients in a special kitchen, and here the patients also learn to prepare their particular food so that when they are discharged they will be able to continue with the proper diet.
The diabetic menu for to-day included:
Breakfast: Oatmeal, bacon, eggs.
Dinner: Beef, cauliflower, tomatoes, stewed celery, head lettuce and orange snow.
Supper: Devilled or poached eggs, lettuce or celery, string beans, rhubarb and diabetic jelly.
In addition all these meals are supplemented by bread or wafers made from starch-free flour. Butter and milk are also used freely in the diet. Salad dressing, which has no caloric value, is used and makes the food more palatable. Potatoes, brown and white bread are used in improved cases to give sufficient caloric value to the diet.
The only person who cannot understand patients running risks in treatment is one who has never seen or does not understand the terrible ravages of the disease called diabetes, which will make a man willing to do or endure anything in order to obtain even a measure of relief.