Thesis on rickets
Osler, William David
The subject of rickets is one to which I have given much thought during several years of an intimate experience in the management or the disease. I have been particularly impressed by its great prevalence amongst the more crowded districts and lower classes of our city population as compared with the less populous, but not necessarily less fortunately circumstanced country localities. I have likewise observed marked differences in physique between the parents of the city and those of the country; also the apparent contempt of the citizen parent for the health-giving influences of fresh air. Even more so have I noticed the crass ignorance exhibited in the choice of proper articles of diet for the rearing of children of tender years. Another striking factor is the appalling death-rate amongst young children from this disease and is protean consequences, a death-rate which, in this so called enlightened age, is not showing the diminution it should do: largely, in my opinion, owing to the invincible ignorance and obstinacy of the lower-class mother. She, in not a few instances, insists in bringing up her infant in the same faulty way as she herself was reared. In these cases the fussy grandmother is the bugbear of every family practitioner. "Children are not reared nowadays as they were in my time," she says. Granted; and it is well for the present-day pediatric prospects that usually they are not. The grandmother-empiric, when inclined to practice her domestic medicine with its nonsensical basis, is an everyday evil, and should be fought at every turn. There is too great a tendency on the part of some practitioners to agree with her for the sake of peace and popularity and recommendation: this fact, particularly in slum experience, I have from time to time observed. "Look at me," she commands the anxious mother, "I was reared on such and such a food or in this or that way, and what's good enough for your mother should be good enough for your bairn." Authority has spoken and nothing more can be said.