Amputation

Amputations were freely made and medicated wines, were given to the patients as anaesthe-tics (I). These conclusively show that the surgery of Sushruta does not rest content with the mere bursting or opening of an abscess, and the healing of the incidental wound but lays down processes for major operations as well. The removal of the cicatrix until it becomes of the same colour with the surrounding skin and the growth of hair thereon are suggestions which we find nowhere else.

Ophthalmic Surgery

Of the seventy six varieties of ophthalmic diseases, Sushruta holds that fifty-one are surgical ra Tantram Ch. VIII). The mode of operation which is to7 be performed in each case has been elaborately described in the Samhita, and does not unfavourably compare in most instances with modern methods of ophthalmic surgery. Sushruta was aware of the fact that the angle of reflection is equal to the angle of incidence, and that the same ray which impinges upon the retina serves the double purpose of illumining the eye and the external world, and is in itself converted into the sensation of light.

Midwifery

It is in the region of practical midwifery that one becomes so much impressed with the greatness of Sushruta. The different turning, flexing, gliding movements, the application of the forceps in cases of difficult labour and other obstetric operations involving the destruction and mutilation of the child such as craniotomy, were first systematically described in the Sushruta Samhita long before fillets and forceps were dreamt of in Europe, and thousands of years before the birth of Christ. Sushruta, who advocates Cesarean section in hopeless cases of obstruction, lays down that the instrument should be employed only in ♦those cases where the proportion between the child and the maternal passage is so defective that medicated plasters, fumigations, etc., are not sufficient to effect a natural delivery. His directions regarding the management of the puerperal state, lactation and management of the child and the choice of a wet-nurse are substantially the same as are found in modern scientific works of European authors. A feeling of pride and joy moves our heart when we contrast these glorious achievements of our ancestors with the meanness of results which modern Europe has gained in this department of midwifery. In those old days perhaps there were no hospitals to huddle patients together in the same room and thereby to create artificially septicemic poisons which are now so common and so fatal in lying-in rooms. A newly' built lying-in room in an open space abunduntly suceeded with the rays of the sun and heat of the burning fire for each individual case the recommendation of a fresh bamboo-chip for the section of the cord are Suggestions the value of which the west has yet to learn from the east.

(I) For the use of Sanmohinis (anaesthetics) for surgical purposes, see Bhoja Prabandha by Ballala Pandit.