The Unity of Medicine

Close discusses the need to treat the man as a whole. He argues that we don’t need specialists who fail to see the patient as a whole….

“As our studies in medicine penetrate deeper into the problems of each individual branch or specialty one fact stands out with ever-increasing emphasis; namely, that medicine is a unit and incapable of real division into specialities. The superior man in medicine of as future will not be the great laboratory worker, or the man who is known for his studies in metabolism, or the expert gastro-enterologist or neurologist or surgeon, or he who stands preeminently above his confreres in his knowledge of disease of the heart and arterial system or of the lungs, *but the man who recognizes the fact that the truths derived from all these sources of study and investigation must be interpreted as belonging to the patient as a whole in other words, *the internist who appreciates the unity of medicine. The distinguished specialist will be one who regards his field of study in its intimate relationships to *the body as a whole.”

With these weighty words, Francis Marion Pottenger, A.M., M.D. LL. D. F.A.C.P, the most distinguished specialist in diseases of the chest in the United States, opens his great book entitled “Symptoms of Visceral Disease”.

Mistaken ideals, wrong theories, wrong practice, materialism, commercialism and selfish competition, as well as the great enlargement of the field of medicine in the advance of science, have led to overspecialization in the medical profession, the disappearance of the general practitioner and the springing up of numerous so-called “non-medical” cults and fads.

The Genius of Homoeopathy. – There are “57 different varieties” of specialists- one for almost every organ of the body, besides those who deal with many other subjects connected with medicine. In addition to the old-time allopathic, homoeopathic and eclectic schools (which are still with us) we now have the pharmico- physio-mechanico-electro-hydro-balneo-sero-vaccino and radio- therapeutic schools, not to mention the osteopaths, the chiropractors, the Christian Scientists and the mental psychic and spiritual healers, all of whom are “practicing medicine” in the broad sense of the term.

There is an old saying: “It takes nine tailors to make a man” Now we might say: “It takes nine specialists to make a physician, if it were not that nine would not be enough to make a good, all- around physician of the old school.

The people realize, in a blind sort of way, that they are getting from the medical profession a good many things they do not want, and are not getting some very important things which they need. The failure of the surgeon and organ specialists to do more than palliate or remove the tangible products of disease; the rise of the seductive serum and vaccine therapy and the reign of the reptilian derived hypodermic needle; the disappearance of the general practitioner with the system of medical education which made him, and the refusal of the profession to accept the beneficent law of therapeutic medication and its corollaries enunciated by Hahnemann, are the main reasons for the increase of quackery and humbug in the practice of medicine and the rise of non-medical cults. There is rebellion and revolution in the medical world as well as in all the other worlds.

Are we really any better off by all the elaborate specialization in medicine? In certain respects, perhaps, yes. In general, no A reasonable amount of specialization in medicine, as in other professions, is necessary and beneficial. Medicine, covers a very broad field. It is too great to be compassed by the activities of any individual, except in a broad way. The exigencies of the situation require that it should be divided into certain departments, any one of which is large enough to fully engage the time, talents and energy of one man.

But no man can successfully do the work of a department without recognizing the essential unity of medicine and the vital relation of his chosen department to every other department. Especially is this true of the internist the individual who devotes himself to curative medicine as distinguished from preventive medicine and surgery; and still more is it true of the pharmaco-therapeutist who relies mainly for his results upon the scientific use of drugs, as in the case of the homoeopathician, who is legitimately a specialist under the same rules as govern any other legitimate specialist.

The vital organic relation between all the departments of medicine must never be overlooked. The science of medicine exists only in order that the art of medicine may be made effectual in the prevention, ameliorated and cure of disease. The specialities in medicine are of little value in the treatment of disease unless they are correlated and directed in their application by the internist the general practitioner who views and treats every case as a whole. All the surgery, all the organ specializing, all the theorizing, laboratory research, classifying, naming and explaining of diseases amount to very little if it does not lead to the cure of the patient.

Now cure relates to the case as a whole, not merely to a part or an organ. A human being is something more than a miscellaneous assortment of eyes, ears, nose, throat, lungs, etc. organs which the ordinary specialists, if left to themselves, usually treat as if they were independent of each other. They are only parts of a very intricate machine the most intricate machine in the world. They are assembled according to a wonderful plan made by the Designer of The Universe for the purpose of utilizing the divine power of life. Life the motive power, flows through them all and unites them into an organic whole. Each part depends upon every other part, and all act together as one, in health or disease. All diseases originate as a disturbance of the life principle. No organ can become diseased without a preceding disturbance of the life principle in which all the other organs participate.

The cure of disease takes place in the same way. The curative remedy, through the media of the nerves and blood vessels, acts first upon the life principle everywhere present in the organism, and then upon the affected parts, in a perfectly natural manner. It is only necessary that the remedy shall be correctly selected, properly prepared and administered by the natural channels in appropriate dosage in order to get its curative effects. No hypodermic needle is required. One who knows how to do these things never makes the mistake of treating a part as if it stood alone. Before his mental eye is always pictured the individual patient-the case as a whole.

It is a characteristic of homoeopathy that all of its practical processes are governed by the principle of individualization. In its drug provings; its study of the materia medica complied from those provings; its examination of a patient and study of a case; its selection of the remedy and its conduct of whatever auxiliary treatment is required, it seeks always to individualize.

*Homoeopathy recognizes the individuality of each drug and substance in nature. Its method of testing or “proving” drugs upon the healthy is designed and used for the express purpose of bringing out the symptomatic individuality of each drug so that its full powers and relations may be established. There are no “sucodanae” in the homoeopathic materia medica. A given drug is symptomatically indicated in a case or it is not. There are no substitutes for the conscientious prescriber. Symptomatic comparison between similar drugs i instituted and carried on until one (the one bearing the closet symptom-similarity to the case) stands clearly out as the indicated remedy.

*Homoeopathy recognizes the individuality of each patient or case. The entire examination of a patient is conducted with a view to discovering not only the general or common features of the case by which it may be classified diagnostically and pathologically, but the special and particular symptoms which differentiate the case from other of the same general class. It recognizes the fact that no two cases or patients, even which the same disease, are exactly alike and maintains that a true science of therapeutics must enable the practitioner to recognize these differences and find the needed remedy for each individual. In actual practice the “differences” are very often the deciding factor in the choice of the remedy. To use a frequently quoted epigram; “Homoeopathy does not treat disease. It treats patient” In one word, it individualizes. It may be added that homeopathy is the only method by which the prescriber is able to thus individualize his medication.

In the auxiliary treatment the same principle is applied as far as possible. In dietetics, for example, instead of laying down rigid rules and making up a diet list composed of articles selected solely for their supposed chemical or physiological relation to the case, the patient’s idiosyncrasies, his likes and dislikes, his aggravations and ameliorations, as revealed by his symptoms are considered and allowed for. Nature as thus revealed in the patient’s temperament, constitution and clinical history is consulted.

Stuart Close
Stuart M. Close (1860-1929)
Dr. Close was born November 24, 1860 and came to study homeopathy after the death of his father in 1879. His mother remarried a homoeopathic physician who turned Close's interests from law to medicine.

His stepfather helped him study the Organon and he attended medical school in California for two years. Finishing his studies at New York Homeopathic College he graduated in 1885. Completing his homeopathic education. Close preceptored with B. Fincke and P. P. Wells.

Setting up practice in Brooklyn, Dr. Close went on to found the Brooklyn Homoeopathic Union in 1897. This group devoted itself to the study of pure Hahnemannian homeopathy.

In 1905 Dr. Close was elected president of the International Hahnemannian Association. He was also the editor of the Department of Homeopathic Philosophy for the Homeopathic Recorder. Dr. Close taught homeopathic philosophy at New York Homeopathic Medical College from 1909-1913.

Dr. Close's lectures at New York Homeopathic were first published in the Homeopathic Recorder and later formed the basis for his masterpiece on homeopathic philosophy, The Genius of Homeopathy.

Dr. Close passed away on June 26, 1929 after a full and productive career in homeopathy.