From Naturarztliche, Rundschau, May, 1934.
THERE is a crisis in medicine. That has been pointed out by many of the leading German physicians and surgeons, among them, Doctors Bier, Sauerbruch, Much, Hueppe, Schleich, Grotjan, Honigmann, and Liek. Those physicians who wish to cure by natural means are not surprised, for they have criticised modern medicine for decades and have declared that things are drifting towards a crisis. We are glad to find that leading men of the profession begin to recognize that things can no longer go on in the present way.
What has caused the crisis? It is due to the fact that modern medicine is a building without a foundation. Such a structure must come down earlier or later.
Towards the middle of the last century arose cellular pathology, the doctrine that disease arises in the cells, a conception which was developed by celebrities such as Malpighi, Bichat and we were told by Virchow that every disease was seated in an organ.
With this conception came the introduction of diagnostic methods devised to discover “the sick organ”. Then came the doctrine of the microbic origin of disease, which caused doctors to hunt for the responsible micro-organism.
The doctrines relating to the origin and seat of diseases destroyed the idea of the vital force and the idea that disease was due to the changed character of the bodily fluids which had dominated medical science in the past. Medicine came under the domination of mechanical ideas. It became purely materialistic and all the processes of the body were explained mechanically, chemically or physically in laboratory language with perfect disregard of the fact that man is neither a machine nor a chemical appliance.
The conception that disease is seated in some organ or organs caused medicine to be divided into scores of branches and sub- branches, which were studied by narrow visioned specialists who concentrate all their attention on the special organ in which they are interested and they endeavour to treat that organ by means of drugs, serums, vaccines, injections, glandular medicines, by surgery, etc.
Medicine fell under the sway of pathologists who study disease in dead bodies, and of anatomists who dissect them. The predominance of men who endeavour to study disease in the mortuary was of no advantage to the patient. Medical men sought to discover the causation and cure of disease not in the living but in the dead, forgetting that disease may have developed in the body long before the cells are affected, that it may be caused by chemical changes within the body.
Physicians and surgeons endeavour to find disease by means of the knife and the microscope. They did not understand that disease is not a fixed condition, but a process of the body. They did not understand that in reality there are no diseases but only sick people, people whose health deviates in some way or other from normality.
Doctors refused to believe that, as Professor Schweninger taught, disease was merely an abstraction, not a fact, that, to speak plainly, there was no such thing as pneumonia or typhoid in existence, exactly as there is in existence a house, a table or a chair, and that pneumonia and typhoid have no existence by themselves, but that there are human beings whose lungs or bowels have morbidly changed from the normal.
Those who pretended to see disease in the changed conditions of cells or organs denied that disease is sent to us for a purpose. In view of the purposeful work of every body organ in health, it would of course be illogical if the same purposeful organs would act without a purpose in time of illness.
Of course, the mechanistic and materialistic science of medicine has its strong points. It stands firmly on the basis of facts. With untiring industry the body and its disorders were studied. Anatomy, bacteriology, the chemical sciences, etc. were called in and were highly developed, enabling doctors to make a reliable diagnosis of local degenerative processes.
But what about the thing which principally interests the patient, what about treatment? If one asked that question one was told only too often that there is no treatment for the disease, that possibly symptoms might be relieved!.
Professor Bier wrote in his most important work: A Textbook of Hyperaemia:.
“In spite of all the numerous new discoveries, we must admit that medicine has not advanced but has gone backward. A natural instinct guided the doctors of the past who did not possess the vast knowledge and the scientific appliances which we have now.
Yet they knew ways and means of treatment which only now we recognize to have been correct. Many centuries ago doctors considered fever as a natural curative process. Yet the greatest difficulties were experienced in making doctors of the present understand that fever is indeed a curative process, undertaken by the body for the good of the patient.”.
Although Professor Bier has preached this doctrine for many years, he has not found many adherents, at least not in practice, for fever is still combated by the doctor as it was in the past. It is treated by the medical profession with antipyretics employed on a huge scale. Otherwise the chemical manufacturing industry would not advertise and sell enormous quantities of antipyretics of every kind. It is not conceivable that the thousands of tons of antipyretics produced by the pharmaceutical industry remain un-utilized.
Inflammation, like fever, is a curative effort of the body which endeavours to deal in this way with disease germs and their poisons. However, inflammation, like fever, is “fought” by the doctor with antiphlogistics, with chemicals of every kind, or with ice bags. In other words patient are treated on the principle of contraria contraris. Doctors try to bring down fever and inflammation by artificial means, interfering with the curative action of the body.
The symptomatic treatment of eruptions, such as psoriasis, is equally unnatural and illogical. Chemicals of every kind are applied outwardly as if an eruption on the surface of the skin was a purely local disorder and was in no way due to constitutional factors, such as impurity of the blood caused by a faulty diet or other factors. In most skin diseases an appropriate change of the methods of living and of the dietary is indicated if we wish to cure.
If we treat skin disorders merely by outward applications we may indeed eliminate the eruption, but if the blood and body fluids can no longer get rid of morbid material by the skin, it is carried towards the internal organs where it may lead to diseases, such as pleurisy, meningitis, etc.
Until recently the “scientific” treatment of tuberculosis of the joints and bones was purely local. The diseases joints or member was immobilised, if possible with plaster of Paris, and local treatment was given with disinfectants, such as Iodoform. Besides bones and joints were surgically cleaned up and operated upon! At the same time the patient was given a “strengthening diet” with plenty of meat, eggs, milk and medicines of every kind.
If such a case got better, a cure took a long time and it was frequently accompanied by loss of a joint or of an entire arm or leg. Only decades after Rickli, a non-doctor, had created air and sun treatment for surgical tuberculosis, scientific medicine, guided by Rollier, began to recognize the curative power of sunlight. Medicine, guided by another non-doctor, Lahmann, also discovered the advantage of a diet, poor in protein and table salt, but rich in mineral elements and vitamins.
I might describe dozens of examples showing the harm which has been done for generations by the purely symptomatic treatment of diseases. Orthodox medicine had obviously forgotten that the living body possesses numerous curative processes whereby the great majority of diseases and disorders get well even if the patient is not treated at all.
Of course one must not forget that there is a limit to the curative power of the body. One must not forget that the various protective processes of the body may fail to act or that they may act with insufficient force. If that is the case the medical men has to aid nature. Also he may have to limit the reaction of the body to disease if that reaction becomes dangerously strong. We can cure our patients only if we imitate the action of nature, follow her guidance and understand the limits of her power.
The unfortunate materialistic and mechanistic conception of life and diseases and the unfortunate idea that disease is a local process which is seated in an organ or in the cells has been greatly promoted by the science of bacteriology. Modern medicine is dominated by the bacteriologist.
He is the dictator. Bacteriology has given us important new conceptions relating to the origin of infectious diseases, but after long wanderings in the wilderness, scientists have discovered that disease processes are not so simple as they appear to those whose horizon is limited by animal experiments and by developments in test tubes.
The conception that the bacillus creates the disease is incorrect. Outbreak of a disease requires something more than the advent of a “specific” micro-organism, Those who base their views and pronouncements on rabbits, guinea pigs and mice, kept in a laboratory are mistaken.
It took decades until medical science became ready to recognize that an “injection disease” caused in a laboratory animal by the most brutal poisoning and ill-treatment is entirely different from an infectious disease, which in nature arises very gradually and which gives to the organism an opportunity of organizing an effective defence. It took decades until the justified criticism of bacteriology by great scientists, such as Pettenkofer and Rosenbach was adequately appreciated.
Bacteriologists have always been blind to the fact that the number of disease organisms which are absolutely poisonous is very small in comparison to the number of those disease organisms which become active only if they find a favourable soil and favourable conditions for nutrition and propagation. Professors Pettenkofer and Emmerich did not contract cholera after swallowing pure cultures of cholera bacilli.
There is no disease and no infectious disease which is due to a single cause. As Pettenkofer taught, bacilli are like the sparks of conflagration. They cause fire when they fall on a thatched roof, but are innocuous when they fall on a wet tiled roof.
Forty years ago Lahmann wrote in The Purification of the Blood by Dietetic Means: “The danger arising from a few infectious diseases has been greatly exaggerated if compared with the vast number of non-bacterial diseases of the digestion and of the metabolism, of the heart, kidneys, nerves, etc.”
The one-sided narrowness of the bacteriologists and the differences which divide the physician and the bacteriologist are due to the mistake made by those who took upon health and disease from the point of view of the laboratory and of experiments made on animals.
Laboratory men working with animals know disease only as caused by violent injections of poisons. They show only unnatural infections and they draw from these artificial diseases conclusions as to the causation of diseases in men although mens constitutions are entirely different from those of laboratory animals.
We doctors have to deal only with natural infectious diseases occurring in human beings. The laboratory doctors are “pure scientists”, not practical physicians. Koch, Metchnikoff and Pasteur were not practising doctors and Virchow, the creator of cellular pathology, was a pathologists and an anatomist who dealt not with living men, but only with dead bodies.
Although we owe a great debt to the work of bacteriologists, we must not forget that their labours have been fruitless as regards the most important thing, the treatment of the sick. Serum treatment, based on the findings of bacteriology, was at one time believed to be the be-all and the end-all of medicine, but the high hopes aroused by the bacteriologists and their enthusiastic promises have turned to disappointment.
Kochs Tuberculin has been a disastrous failure. In Virchows opinion thousands of consumptives who went to Berlin in 1890 and 1891 to be cured of tuberculosis were killed by Kochs Tuberculin. The massacre of seventy-five healthy babies at Lubeck, who were done to death by being treated with the bacilli of tuberculosis of Calmette in order to protect them against tuberculosis, is still in everybodys memory.
Professor Much said in 1930 in a lecture at Basle: “The Calmette preventive treatment of tuberculosis and its advertisement as a remedy is the greatest shame and scandal of modern medicine.”.
During the War the German Army was treated as if it were a large laboratory animal. Hundreds of millions of injections were made with the germ or with the attenuated toxins of cholera, typhoid, etc., although these treatments were not justified by adequate practical experience. According to Professor Friedberger, they were worthless; even if one disregards the injury done by these treatments.
The result of serum treatment of plague has shown its uselessness. Pharmaceutical factories and their scientific employees have highly praised serums for the treatment of measles, scarlatina, influenza, whooping cough, etc. Their preparations never cure the diseases named.
They produce only too often serum diseases accompanied by fever, pain in the joints, itching eruptions of the skin and they undoubtedly often lead to aggravation of the very disease for which they are given, to chronic ill health and, directly or indirectly, to death.
The serum employed for diphtheria is no better although it has received the highest praise from the profession. Its utility has been denied by open-minded doctors, such as Schweninger. Of late years Professors Stolzenr and Friedberger have shown that the fashionable treatment of diphtheria lacks a scientific basis and that the statistics with which its use is advocated by those who recommended it are quite unreliable.
It has been proved that of a hundred children who have been injected prophylactically for diphtheria as many sicken and die of diphtheria as of a hundred children who were attacked by diphtheria and who did not receive prophylactic serum treatment. Professor Friedberger has shown that in 1929 twice as many people died of diphtheria in forty- eight German towns as died in 1927 although serum treatment was lavishly given.
Professor Czerny wrote in the Munchener Med. Wochenschrift, No. 27, 1927: “The official propaganda in favour of the prophylactic serum treatment of diphtheria is an unheard of insult to the medical conscience.” Yet, during the last forty years that serum has been praised as “the most wonderful medical discovery” and its discoverer, Behring, has been called the greatest benefactor of mankind.
Recently, when he celebrated his eightieth birthday, the glory of his serum was trumpeted to the world by the manufacturers of that serum and by their scientific assistants. Thus doctors and others are made to believe the old superstition that the diphtheria serum is curative although its worthlessness has been proved long ago. During the diphtheria epidemic in Hamburg Eppendorf 1910 it was shown that, notwithstanding the most lavish use of diphtheria serum, deaths from diphtheria were more numerous than in the time preceding the serum era.
Also it was shown that the decline in the number of diphtheria deaths shortly after the introduction of diphtheria serum in the nineties of the last century had nothing to do with the use of diphtheria serum, but that diphtheria had been declining previously. In 1930, 32 per cent. of the diphtheria cases treated with serum died.
The scientific world praised with the utmost enthusiasm the introduction of Salvarsan. Its inventor, Ehrlich, was proclaimed to be one of the greatest of men in history, greater than Christ, Caesar, Bismarck, and the whole medical professor agreed because Salvarsan was believed to be “the cure of syphilis”. The critically minded doubted its value from the beginning.
Indeed, the use of Salvarsan injured thousands, and their injuries ranged from simple inflammation of the skin to grave diseases of the liver, kidneys, nerves and brain and to numerous deaths. Leading specialists have told us that since the use of Salvarsan has become common, syphilitic more frequently and at an earlier age become victims of locomotor ataxia, paralysis, and degeneration of the aorta. According to Professor Buschke, Salvarsan has proved worthless in fighting syphilis.
The much-praised and widely used method of diagnosing syphilis by the so-called Wassermann test is, as was admitted by Wassermann himself, anything but reliable. If there is a positive Wassermann reaction we cannot be sure that the patient suffers from syphilis and if there is a negative reaction he may be syphilitic. Professor Buschke said that it was an abuse on the part of doctors to pronounce patients syphilitic because of a positive reaction which was unreliable.
Pasteurs celebrated injection treatment for rabies also must be regarded with grave doubt. According to the statistics published by the Pasteur Institute, no less than 2,200 people died who were treated for rabies at the Institution, even if, later on, it was found that the dogs who had bitten them did not suffer from rabies.
Those who were bitten by healthy dogs and who were treated with rabies poison at the Institute did not die of rabies caused by dogs. They died from rabies poison injected at the Pasteur Institute. Apart from numerous deaths thus caused, there are on record numerous grave injuries caused by this treatment, among them paralysis following inflammation of the spinal marrow.
The star performer among the serums, according to the devotees to serum treatment, is anti-tetanus serum. Yet one has to doubt its value. If a man who has been treated with anti-tetanus serum does not get tetanus one cannot conclude that freedom from tetanus was due to the effect of the serum. Innumerable wounded who were not treated with anti-tetanus serum did not get tetanus.
Experts have told us that the serum acts only if the tetanus poison has not yet affected the nervous system. This assertion is without proof. High authorities such as Eichoorst, Permin and others have declared that they have never seen any cures with anti-tetanus serum, but that they have noticed numerous cases in which use of the serum led to unfavourable results, of death.
Scientists have devised an “infallible” remedy for sleeping sickness. It is called Germanin. We have been told that its discovery would bring the greatest glory to the pharmaceutical science of Germany and that with that remedy vast districts of Africa could be made inhabitable. It is difficult to form a definite opinion about the value of this medicament.
Sleeping sickness is particularly frequent in Central Africa and the negroes who submissively allow themselves to be injected experimentally should be observed not only by representatives of the pharmaceutical industry, but also by independent scientists. At St. Louis there was as opportunity to put Germanin to the test. In that town there were several thousands of people suffering from sleepy sickness.
Germanin was lavishly used but without any success. Immediately the pharmaceutical interests declared through their scientific spokesmen that the sleeping sickness in St. Louis was not the genuine African sleeping sickness, and very promptly a Dr. Smith discovered the “specific organism” causing the “American Sleeping sickness.” Dr. Smiths discovery was not accepted by American scientists who asserted that the sleeping sickness of St. Louis was identical with the African logists of the serum industry will presently produce “an absolutely reliable serum” for the American sleeping sickness.
The disappointment caused by bacteriology have had much to do with the crisis of medicine. As the faith in microbic specifics has been badly shaken, scientists and the pharmaceutical interests have turned back once more towards potent chemicals, the danger of which was exemplified by the disasters caused by that chemical production called Salvarsan. The glamour of serum treatments is rapidly vanishing.
It is becoming more and more widely recognized that the diseases of human beings cannot be cured by borrowing health from horses, cattle, sheep and other animals. It would be a splendid thing if we could renew the health of the body by the injection of some serum. Unfortunately we cannot do so.
We can cure the sick only by strengthening their inborn vitality. Professor Much stated very wisely: “The body can cure itself only by its own reaction, by its own activities. This old verity which is old as civilization itself has been obscured of recent years, particularly through the misleading experiments made on animals.”.
If we wish to fight contagious diseases, we must improve sanitation. All transmittable diseases are more or less dirt diseases. Personal and public cleanliness are infinitely more important than the search for microbes and lavish disinfection with poisonous chemicals.
Schweninger, Lahmann and Rosenbach told us that it is very easy to declare that all diseases are due to micro-organisms, neglecting the innumerable factors of nutrition, occupation, housing etc., which really cause our diseases. They have told us that it is ridiculous to proclaim that it does not matter how people live as long as they avoid microbic infection.
The advent of the specialist is largely responsible for the crisis in medicine. Professor Schweninger, wrote in one of his classical reports:.
“Medical men who concentrate their entire thought and ability upon eyes, ears, nose, skin, nerves, or some other organ, lose the capacity to treat human beings. They cease to be physicians. They become narrow-visioned automate and his narrowness of his outlook will never be compensated for by the mechanical skill which they acquire by doing day after day the same operation, or treating the identical cases.
“The development of specialism in surgery has been a disaster. The surgeon-specialist does not ask himself: Is it necessary for me to operate in order to benefit the patient? The surgeon only too often asks himself, Can I operate without killing the patient ? Nowadays the physician modestly stands at the sick bed, afraid that he might miss the moment when he ought to call in the surgeon, for the surgeon can always show to the patient and his family his superiority over the physician by declaring”