Edinburgh, Morningside.—Dr. Robertson's own interesting address forms the only part of this report that has reached us. It may be called an address, as it is read each year by the Superintendent in public at the Annual Meeting of the Governors. It gives him an opportunity of contributing to public knowledge from his own stores of science and experience in matters psychiatric, and has undoubtedly been in past years the means of instructing and advising the public in facts and deductions which would have otherwise been more or less latent. This year Dr. Robertson has touched upon a subject that needs more close attention from our psychiatric point of view than almost any other. We refer to militant suffragettism. Dr. Robertson introduces the subject by the statement that in consequence of the rubbish which has been uttered in the press about forcible feeding, his own practice and that of others has been sadly troubled. Parents and friends raise objections on the ground of the alleged cruelty, and some would go so far as to let the patient perish for want of this feeding. Of course such a wicked decision might affect patients at home or under the direct care of the next of kin, but in the asylum it could not prevail. In either case the direct responsibility of a medical man may be unexpectedly questioned in a court of law, in view of feeling existing in a portion of the public. We apprehend, however, that in the case of a certified person, at all events, there can be no doubt as to the right and the duty to adopt any course of treatment, generally accepted, that may be thought necessary to the discharge of the responsibility cast on the medical man to whose care the law has committed that person. Dr Robertson advances an opinion as to the cause of the bodily failure of suffragettes under forcible feeding in comparison with the insane when subjected to the same pressure.
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