« PreviousContinue »
new fluid called purulent matter; which generally opens itself a passage on the external skin, and produces an ulcer, which either gradually heals, or spreads, and is the cause of hectic fever; or they secrete contagious matter, which has the property of exciting the same kind of inflammation, and of producing the same kind of contagious matter, when inserted by inoculation into the skin of other persons. These contagious matters form ulcers, which either heal spontaneously, or by art; or continue to spread, and destroy the patient, by other kinds of heótic fever. In this genus there is an increase of the sensorial power of irritation as well as of sensation; whence great arterial energy is produced, and the pulse becomes strong and full, as well as quick; and the coats of the arteries feel hard under the finger, being themselves thickened and distended by inflammation. The blood drawn, especially at the second bleeding, is covered with a tough size; which is probably the mucus from the inflamed internal surface of the arteries, increased in quantity, and more coagulable than in its natural state; the thinner part being more perfectly absorbed by the increased action of the inflamed absorbents. See Sect. XXXIII. 2. 2. This is rendered more probable, because the hard feel of the pulse, and the abundance of coagulable lymph commence, exist, and cease together. Great heat is produced from the new chemical combinations
combinations arising in the secretion of new fibres, and great pain from the distention of old ones, of from their increased ačtion. The increased quantity of sensation from a topical inflammation of phlegmon is the immediate cause of the febris sensitiva irritata, or inflammatory fever; as when it arises from the pain of pleurisy, or paronychia; but generally an irritative sever precedes this topical inflammation, which occurs during the hot fit of it; and then the irritative fever is changed into a sensitive irritated sever, by the additional cause of the sensorial power of sensation besides that of irritation.
When matter is thus formed in any internal viscus, or in the cellular membrane, as in the lungs or liver; so long as this abscess remains without admission of air, this inflammatory fever is liable to continue, receiving only temporary relief by bleeding or emetics, or cathartics; till the patient, after a month, or two, or three, expires. But, if air be admitted to these internal abscesses, this kind of fever is changed into a hectic fever in a single day. It also sometimes happens, that when the abscess remains unopened to the air, if the matter has become putrid, heótic fever supervenes, with colliquative sweats, or diarrhoea; the matter in both cases is sometimes absorbed, and the sides of the abscess grow together again without an external aperture. See Class II. I. 4. I. and 2. Another termination of inflammation is in gangrene, but this belongs to the inflammation of the external skin; as the production of purulent matter belongs to inflammation of the internal or mucous membranes. Thus when the external skin is the seat of
the cornea; these new vessels are easily seen, as they lie on a white ground, and give ocular demonstration of their produćtion in inflammation. When this inflammation of the cornea suppurates, it is liable to leave little ulcers, which may be seen beneath the surface in the form of little excavations; and as these heal, they are liable to be covered with an opake scar. This scar, in some months or years, is liable to wear away, and become transparent, without the assistance of any polishing powder, as of very finely levigated glass, as some have recommended. But when the cornea is affected through all its thickness, the return of its transparency becomes hopeless See Class I. I. 3. 14. In violent degrees of ophthalmy the internal parts, as the retina, optic artery, iris, ciliary process, become inflamed, as well as the external ones; hence the least light admitted to the eye occasions intolerable pain. This curious circumstance cannot be owing to the action of light on the inflamed vessels of the cornea; it therefore shews, that the extremity of the optic nerve or retina is also rendered more exquisitely sensible to light, by partaking of the inflammation; and I have been told, that red colours are in these cases sometimes painfully perceived even in perfeót darkness. This shews that the retina is excited into motion by the stimulus of light; and that, when it is inflamed, these motions give great pain, like those of other inflamed parts, as the muscles, or membranes.