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Adventures of Working Men From the Notebook of a Working Surgeon   By: (1831-1909)

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Adventures of Working Men From the Notebook of a Working Surgeon By George Manville Fenn Illustrations by Anon Published by Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co, London. Adventures of Working Men, by George Manville Fenn.




I have had patients enough in a busy life as a working surgeon, you may be sure, but of all that I have had, young or old, give me your genuine, simple hearted working man; for whether he be down with an ordinary sickness or an extraordinary accident, he is always the same enduring, forbearing, hopeful, and with that thorough faith in his medical man that does so much towards helping on a cure.

Wealthy patients as a rule do not possess that faith in their doctor. They always seem to expect that a disease which has been coming on, perhaps, for months, can be cured right off in a few hours by a touch of the doctor's hand. If this result does not follow, and I may tell you at once it never does unless it be in a case of toothache, and a tooth is drawn the patient is peevish and fretful, the doctor is looked upon as unskilful, and, money being no object, the chances are that before the doctor or surgeon has had a chance, another practitioner is called in.

On the other hand, a quiet stalwart working man comes to you with a childlike faith and simplicity; he is at one with you; and he helps his cure by his simple profound belief in your skill.

A great deal of working class doctoring and surgery has fallen to my lot, for fate threw me into a mixed practice. Sooner than wait at home idle for patients who might never come, I have made a point of taking any man's practice pro tem , while the owner was ill, or away upon a holiday, and so improved my own knowledge better than I should have done by reading ever so hard. The consequence is that I have been a good deal about the country, and amongst a great variety of people, and the result of my experience is that your genuine working man, if he has been unspoiled by publicans, and those sinners, the demagogues, who are always putting false notions into his head, is a thoroughly sterling individual. That is the rule. I need not quote the exceptions, for there are black sheep enough among them, even as there are among other classes. Take him all in all, the British workman is a being of whom we may well be proud, and the better he is treated the brighter the colours in which he will come out.

Of course he has his weak points; we all have them, and very unpleasant creatures we should be without. A man all strong points is the kind of being to avoid. Have nothing to do with him. Depend upon it the finest the most human of God's creatures, are those who have their share of imperfections mingled with the good that is in every one more or less.

They are men, these workers, who need the surgeon more than ordinary people, for too often their lives are the lives of soldiers fighting in the battle of life; and many are the wounded and slain.

I used at one time from no love of the morbid, please bear in mind, but from genuine desire to study my profession to think that I should like to go out as an army surgeon, and be with a regiment through some terrible war. For it seemed to me that nothing could do more towards making a professional man prompt and full of resources than being called upon to help his suffering fellow creatures shot down, cut down, trampled beneath horses' feet, blown up, bayoneted, hurt in one of the thousand ways incidental to warfare, besides suffering from the many diseases that follow in an army's train. But I very soon learned that there was no need for any such adventure, for I could find ample demands on such poor skill as I possessed by devoting myself to the great army of toilers fighting in our midst... Continue reading book >>

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