OtoRhinoLaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery
Although not one of the original sections, the section of Laryngology and Otology was established prior to the first extant minute book which dates from 1939. The name of the section was later changed to the Section of Otorhinolaryngolgy. As with the other sections this section is governed by a President and council, and hold regular meetings at which members present cases.
Here is the President’s Inaugural address to the Section of Laryng-otology delivered on January 16th 1931:
President – Sir Robert Woods.
It was suggested to me that at this, the first meeting of the Section of Laryngology and Otology of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, it would be of interest if I reviewed the progress made in our speciality during the years that have elapsed since I began practice. So, with your permission, like pioneers who pause from their labour to look around and contemplate the ground already cleared, we shall cast a glance behind us in the hope of finding sufficient satisfaction in what we have already achieved to inspire us with hope and encouragement for what lies before us.
Tumours, ulcerations and paralyses, that had previously only been suspected or discovered post mortem, were opened to view, and a beginning was made at the clinical study of the pathology and treatment of disease affecting the throat. As might be expected, the chief progress lay at first in the recognition of the grosser changes brought about by aneurysm, syphilis, cancer and tubercle. But there remained a host of ailments less severe in character whose causation was misunderstood, whose pathology was explained on traditional creeds, and whose manifestations were treated on traditional lines. When patients complained of persistent discomfort a persistent cause was naturally, and indeed properly, assumed; but the difficulty lay in blaming the true cause. Occupations have always had their ailments; and, if housemaid’s knee and painter’s colic, why not clergyman’s sore throat? The most fantastic theories were formulated to fit the assumption. Pharyngitis was held by Lennox Browne in 1893 to be due to faulty respiration and voice production, and the aid of elocution masters and singing teachers was invoked in its treatment. The following dates from 1891.
Pathogeny of Speaker’s Sore Throat. There can be no doubt that the malady commences as fatigue of the muscles and motor nerves, in fact as myalgia; and this is continually maintained by repeated efforts. As muscular exertion is always attended by alterial dilatation, it necessarily occurs that the muscular paresis is soon associated with arterial paresis, and a state of active hyperaemia is established in the part. Some slight noza converts this into actual inflammation, the parietal corpuscles of the vessels and the leucocytes undergoing hyperplasia, and outwandering into the tissues, where they form or exaggerate adenoid growths.