SURGERY should be the handmaiden of Medicine. In the olden days right up to the eighties the physician was more highly respected than his brother the surgeon; indeed, the pompous physician complete with snuffbox, which he used to keep off bad humours and fevers wig and golden-headed cane, looked down on the barber surgeon whom he only employed in a menial position, i.e. in the frequent blood-lettings fashionable at that time and perhaps for the crushing operations for stone in the bladder.
Otherwise surgery was very little known except for amputations for gunshot wounds and fractures on the battlefields. Most of these operations were unsuccessful, as the patients succumbed in large numbers to wound fevers due, as we know now, to sepsis.
No wonder that a surgeon was only called in as a very last resort. All this changed completely after the discoveries of such brilliant men as Semmelweiss of Vienna who found the cause of the fatal puerperal fevers which ravaged the maternity hospitals in those days of Pasteur who first discovered bacteria of Lister who made surgical operations no longer playthings of chance by using antiseptics to kill the fatal bacteria of Simpson who first used anaesthetics and thus took away the ghastly horror of the consciousness of pain.
The combined effects of these discoveries helped surgery on enormously. The surgeon became bolder as patients survived their manipulations, and more and more brilliant operations were invented as the technique improved; and nowadays surgery has reached its zenith.
Operations on the heart, the lungs, the spleen and the brain are daily performed successfully as far as the surgeon is concerned. It has become a mechanical job, a well-paying job; the patient is often a minor consideration, his pains, his disabilities are as great if not worse after the operation than they were previously. Certain indefinite symptoms are present in a patient; he has caught a germ, it is said; his appendix, he is told, must be removed. It is done; months go by; still the same unpleasant symptoms recur; now the blame is put on the gall-bladder or it may be vice versa and is brilliantly dealt with.
Still the patient feels ill or is never well; some other part of his anatomy is investigated and fixed upon as being useless, may indeed be fatal to him if left; it might be his tonsils or his frontal sinus or even a large part of his bowels may have to be sacrificed at the altar of the great god Moloch, the blood thirsty surgeon. So the merry race goes on. We are at the mercy of the surgeon who waxes fat with the fees that are paid him. The servant is worthy of his hire. But he is no longer a servant, he is our master and we have to dance to his calling.
It is he now who looks down on his humble brother, the once mighty physician, who is in the position of the poor Lazarns, begging for the crumbs that fall from the table of the rich man. No wonder most young medical men go in for surgery: the kudos is so much greater; and yet it should not be so. A well-known brilliant surgeon in Dublin who excelled in the most out-of-the-way, venturesome operations, spoke very slightingly to me years ago of the uselessness of medicines. “They are all junk and should be thrown overboard, with the exception of perhaps one or two painkilling drugs.
You dont believe in medicines, do you,” he turned to me, the young tyro just fresh from the schools, then. I suppose he saw the faintly doubting expression in my face. “Oh, no,” I quickly replied, with a proviso in my mind it would not do to offend the great man. Certainly I did not believe in the efficacy of the medicines as I had seen them applied in the wards of the famous hospital where I was trained. They might just as well not have been given. The expectant treatment, the do nothing and leave it to nature method, did just as well and very often better than drastic overdosing.
Surgery is glamorous, but medicine is more wonderful still if your know how to prevent illnesses, and how to prevent operations.
Many operations are unnecessary, and even such things as new growths and tumours can be removed without the aid of the knife. This is not an exaggeration or an idle statement.
Tumours have been cured in the past, our homoeopathic literature is full of examples, and they are daily being cured now, and more would be cured if Homoeopathy were given a chance. But the surgical technique has developed to such a fine art that only surgery is considered for any case of growth or tumour.
“You must have an operation,” the patient is told, “Nonsense, it cant be removed by medicines,” if he or she feebly and hesitatingly objects, and so they are swept off their feet and into a hospital ward before they have time to look round. Surgeons forget that you may remove the tumour safely, but you do not remove or cure the cause, the original cause in the first instance that produced the tumour.
And that can only be done by treating each patient individually, taking the full history in the minutest details, and by building up and rectifying the constitution the patient is made well and strong, the tendency to grow tumours is put right and frequently, in the majority of the cases, the tumour itself disappears, never to return. In a few cases the tumour may have to be removed surgically, but the patient by that time is fully well and strong, as his health has been built up and he can stand the operation better.
Years ago I came across such a woman, a patient of the late Dr. Ridpath who was a very keen homoeopath. She had been treated by him for a large fibroid of the uterus, and she was quite unlike any other fibroid patient I had ever met before. She looked so healthy, so bright and well, she had haemorrhages, she had had palpitations, but al these had stopped: there were no constitutional symptoms, only the foreign body, the large fibroid, was left. She stayed in hospital for three weeks and never turned a hair, and I have never seen a patient get over an operation so easily and quickly.
Dr. Ridpath must have been a wonderful homoeopath to implant such faith in his patients and build up their health so that they could go through operations so well. I rather smiled a smile of disbelief when this lady told me about other cases of fibroids being cured without operation; but youth is rash and condemns quickly. With greater experience one has come to the conclusion that it is not only probable but almost certain that fibroids and other tumours can be cured medicinally, but it requires time and patience, and the patient must be willing to keep under treatment and carry out the instructions faithfully.
The late Dr. Burnett had many brilliant cures of tumours of breast, uterus and other parts of the body to his credit; and his writings are very illuminating. He mentions one cure of a very large fibroid which took three years in the curing and complete removal by medicines; probably it might have been quicker if the lady had not been so devoted to travelling and had not absented herself sometimes for months.
Another case took well over two years; certainly an operation would have been quicker, but people forget the invalidism that follows after an operation, and many people are never the same again afterwards. “Is it not much better to leave a patient whole instead of removing a womans organs wholesale, and leaving her crippled and weakly?”.
One heard of the following case the other day:-.
Mrs. B., aged 41 years, seen first at the end of October 1935. Complains of profuse haemorrhages. Her medical practitioner discovered uterine fibroids and advised operation. She came for medical treatment instead, having heard what Homoeopathy could do. Pale, exsanguinated woman, thin, tired, red lips, round- shouldered and bent. M.P. 6/26 + + flow, bright red colour, with dark red clots. Has prolapsed abdomen for which she has worn a belt of years.
Very sensitive to diapers which irritate the skin very much. Short of breath, < exertion, < ascending stairs, does not eat fat meat, feels worse about 11 a.m., felt < heat of summer; pain back midscapular region, > resting, > lying down;- indigestion, flatulence, swollen distended feeling after eating, > eructation, has to take bicarbonate of soda for it; very constipated; takes Normacol; on examination found several small fibroids, uterus itself was very heavy, anteflexed and fibrotic, extended to quite three fingers breadths above symphysis pubis. Prescribed Sulphur 6, T.D.S. on general symptoms.
January 7th, 1936 (two months later). M.P. four days only, clots much less; indigestion much better, not so swollen after food; uterus smaller, only just above symphysis pubis and nodules not so distinct. Heard for the first time that there was a tendency to tuberculosis; had been in a sanatorium for apical tuberculosis; cannot take cod-liver oil.
(1) Tuberculinum 30. Four powders at weekly intervals.
(2) Fraxinus Americanus O. Five drops night and morning.
Fraxinus is one of Dr. Burnetts organ remedies, which he took over from Rademacher, and with which he cured many cases of uterine fibroids and heavy subinvoluted uteri.
Lost sight of patient for six months. Seen again on June 11th, 1936. Periods less; feels > during periods; has had no treatment since end of March; constipation improved, does not take Normacol any more; nocturnal frequency has stopped; sputum examined in May; no tuberculosis found. Had flu in April and cough for weeks after- wards. M.P. regular 4 days /20 days. P. vag.; uterus smaller.
The general practitioner who first discovered the fibroids examined her in April and found to his surprise that fibroids had practically disappeared. Indigestion much improved, can eat anything now and does not take bicarbonate of soda, as there is no longer any fullness after meals; enjoys going out to dinner now.
Continued Fraxinus Americanus O mins. V night and morning.
December 11th, 1936. Much better; uterus small, fibroids appear to have gone. No frequency of micturition, no indigestion; but sick headaches before periods; feels cold now; worse sympathy; > company; fear of being alone in the house; fear of thunderstorms; worse mornings. On the general symptoms she received Nat. mur. 30 for her sick headaches, which is an old symptom recurring.
She is still not out of the wood, her constitution has not been completely built up yet, but her fibroids have disappeared.
Unfortunately she is a busy woman and has no time to give to her ailments. If she had been attending more regularly, more than likely her constitutional symptoms would have improved more quickly. It is a triumph for Homoeopathy to cure fibroids within fourteen months, and at the same time to improve a womans health so that she can enjoy life more than she ever did before. She is very pleased that she escaped the operation, I am told.