(From ” The Doctors Mission “).
IT is difficult to estimate the percentage of unnecessary operations, but I think I am safe in stating that they from more than half of the total. I do not wish to be misunderstood. I assume that the surgeon acts in accordance with the best of his knowledge and in accordance with his conscience. However, he may act on mistaken assumptions. I have to make the gravest reproach which I have to make to modern surgery and to leading surgeons of the present.
Unnecessary operations are cased by modern superficiality in medical circles, by the fact that the processes of life the healthy and in the diseased are looked upon from a coarse and purely technical and materialistic point of view with complete disregard of the organic and spiritual factors. The contempt for these factors is in my opinion a sinful disregard of the very spirit of the art of healing. The cause of this is obvious to everyone who has given a little thought to these matters.
The discovery of anaesthetics and and antiseptics, the elimination of pain and risk in operations has opened the road to surgery and has enabled surgery to give ready help wherever mechanical intervention can help. We can nowadays easily straighten out bent bones, adjust luxations, replace muscles, correct faults of formation along the alimentary tract excise gravely diseased and dispensable organs.
We can, for instance, take out a tuberculous kidney, a gall bladder filled with stones or with pus, a cancerous larynx, take out part of the thyroid gland degenerated through disease, etc. So far so good. Unfortunately surgery went too far and invaded territory which should not be subjection to the surgeons knife. When the heroic age of surgery drawing to an end, the surgical giants were succeeded by men who presumed to give a mechanical explanation for all abnormalities of the human body and they were ready to correct these abnormalities by surgical violence.
If the kidney is more easily movable than is normal, it is called a floating kidney, and it is stitched up to what is presumed to be a normal position. If the stomach hangs down the navel it is likewise stitched up. If the caecum is too easily movable or if the uterus is not in a position of absolute normality, the knife is immediately at had to correct the fault, or the anomaly. Every reader can add to the list of unnecessary operations ad libitum.
If the surgeon discovers a slight abnormality of no importance whatever which is to be found in thousands without casing any disadvantage, he “corrects” that abnormality in accordance with his own ideas or in accordance with the so-called “normal position” as described in some anatomical textbook. A few years ago a great surgeon wrote with pride: “Nowadays we are apt to give the normal position to very organ in the human body.” These words proclaim incredible conceit.
With regard to every organ it must be observed that its functioning is the only thing important. In comparison with function, size and position count for nothing. A stomach and a kidney may have sunk low down in the pelvis and may nevertheless function faultlessly. On the other hand, the stomach may be absolutely normal as regards size and position and may not function at all, as in the case of tabes dorsalis.