ANOTHER X-RAY MARTYR.
(From Our Own Correspondent.)
LONDON, 3rd April. Only a week or two back I 'referred at some length ■to the deplorable case of Dr. Hall Edwards who had undergone a veritable martyrdom in the cause of the X-ray treatment which has given relief to so 1 many thousands of sufferers, and who has b«en rewarded witn the wretched pittance of £120 per annum from the Civil List.
This lamentable case has drawn attention to that of another X-ray 'martyr — Mr. Ernest Harnack, of the London Hospital. Mr. Harnack has been a sufferer for ten years, and has recently undergone a painful operation — the third serious one within the last six months — at the institution where thousands of persons have benefited from his self-sacrificing labours.
Last night a representative, of the 1 Daily Chronicle heard irom Jifn Harnack his pathetic story. But words were scarcely needed. The spectacle of Mr. Harnack, with both hands thickly bandaged, trying to light a cigarette, was in itself a strong appeal to one's sympathy. Mr. Harnack is pioneer in X-ray work. A dozen years ago, when the discovery was given to the world, he was senior clerk to the registrar at th«» hospital, and also clinical photographer. The subject at once fascinated him, and he proceeded to qualify himself as a practical operator. His knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and photography eminently fitted him for the position. He became the head of the X-ray department of. the hospital. His enthusiasm for his work was unbounded. He carried out frequent experiments, and some of his discoveries have proved of the utmost value. "After I had been engaged in the work about three or four years," said Mr. HarnacK, "I began to feel a tingling of the fingers. I thought at first that it was caused by developing the plates, but the true explanation soon became apparent. Since that time I have suffered great agony. In 1900 a finger nail was removed. Then in course of time X lost all my nails. Last October I was operated on for a growth on the back of the left hand; At Christmas I found that the growth was recurring, and in the middle of January I underwent another operation. The third Bnger was amputated ; also, it being ■ feared that the growth was of a malignant character, all the glands of the left arm were removed. At the same time, the right hand was operated upon, for it • was. .covbred with ulcers. The hand was scraped, and skin from the left arm 1 jwW grafted upon , it. Altogether 1* wis 'on the operating table 2£ hours. Unfortunately, the skin grafted on to the right hand gave way, and a few days ago .three fingers were removed. I- now, have ~ only the little finger and -thumb, so that the hand is practically useless." ' Mr. Harnack, who 13 only 40 years of age, is of a most cheerful disposition, and there ~~whs even a smile on his face as he narrated his misfortunes. "I hope there. are better days in store," he said. *tf have had a really terrible time. I haVe not been able to ctress myself for- the last two years, and in othejr vr&ys my affliction .has been most trying." / When Mr 1 . Harnack began ' to suffer through the frequent exposure of his hap.de to the 'X-rays he carried out ex.•perimer^s with the object of preventing other operators being similarly afflicted. And he hit upon the device of a lead ilaw chield- for the X-ray iube. This Jiaj" proved entirely effectual, for an asCflistarit of Mr: Harnaclc's who has^been •^working in. the department for five years, has sustained' no ill effects. Since Mr. Harnack has been . at the h^ad of Jthe department! -' 50,000 or 60,000 people ; have' passed through ,;h!'s hands. Some time ago wlieti the Prince< of Wales was paying a visit to the hospital, Mr. Harnack ,was presented .to him, and H.E.H. sympathised with him in his affliction.