“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.