A GREAT LOSS TO HOMOEOPATHY.
EARLY in the morning of Sunday January 3rd, died Dr. George Burford of 35 Queen Anne Street, Cavendish Square. He was an excellent homoeopath and specialized in gynaecology. Most gynaecologists are surgeons and surgeons only. The way in which womens diseases are treated by orthodox gynaecologists is a disgrace. Gynaecology, as practiced at present, is a crime. If one looks at a textbooks on gynaecology, one finds that practically the entire contents are dedicated to surgical procedures.
This is possibly largely due to the fact that surgery pays better than medicinal treatment. A gynaecologist who cuts out a fibroid tumour of the womb can charge hundreds of guineas for the operation, and many women like to boast of the dangerous operations they have undergone. One can cure medicinally such a growth. Naturally it takes some considerable time, and the payment to the doctor is relatively small.
Dr. Burford was a great and faithful friend of mine, and I admire him greatly. He never operated if medicinal treatment was possible, and he effected brilliant cures in innumerable cases which had been declared absolutely incurable except by operation. Further, he took a lively interest in cancer and he had to his credit numerous notable cures of this horrible disease.
Dr. Burford was an excellent homoeopath, and, like most homoeopaths, was an enthusiast. He went out of his way to help homoeopaths both professional and lay. He presided at many meetings throughout the world, and never spared himself as long as he could do some good to his patients. He was the most unselfish of men, open-handed, generous, pure minded, and he had the confidence of all who consulted him. His death is a personal loss to all his patients and a great loss to me who saw in him a friend.
He lived above eighty years. He was a wonderful husband and father and his wife experienced fifty years of unalloyed happiness. During more than fifty years he toiled as a doctor and surgeon and he was blessed by innumerable men, women and children who went to him for advice. He had time for everybody, except for himself. Like my friend the late Dr. John H. Clarke, he shortened his days by refusing to take things easily. Happily his death was quick and painless,a beautiful end after a life of labour.
Mrs. Georgina D. Foote wrote to me about the departed:.
DEAR MR. BARKER.– It was with a very sore heart I left Dr. George Burfords house on Saturday evening, 2nd inst. having been told by his wife and son that he could not be with us much longer, in the physical sense. My grief, as is usually the case, was purely selfish, for no man ever deserved and earned his Peace and Rest more than did this wonderful soul.
When I paid my first visit to Dr. Burford following the passing on of Dr. J.H. Clarke, I told him how Dr. Clarke had helped me to understand and practise homoeopathy. Dr. Burford received me so kindly and without asking for any further credentials, straight away, began seeing those country patients whom I felt were either too old or too ill for a lay practitioner to treat, without the advice of a specialist, and in these six years, it has been a wonderful experience for me, the memory of which will carry me a long way in my work– his generosity in giving his valuable time and consideration to patients was unparalleled. I had the privilege of meeting him regularly in these latter years, and always he was the same kindly, courteous and humorous gentleman.
Dr. Burford helped me in many private matters and through him were achieved results which would have been quite beyond me. When I tried to thank him on these occasions, his eyes just twinkled and he would tell me to come again soon ! This from such an eminent physician shows some of the greatness of his character.
I hope, and I shall pray that his methods and teaching, especially in malignant cases, will be carried on, for there is no doubt he achieved very definite cures in this direction.
The Rev. W. Burford, the brother of the deceased wrote to me:.
DEAR MR. ELLIS BARKER,– Our family circle will very greatly value your kind interest in my dear brothers life and work. I greatly anticipate the account you give. He spoke to me, not long before his death, with very great appreciation of your friendship, and of your work in the interests of homoeopathy. Now about what you honour me by the suggestion of some character notes.
Unfortunately I am only just up and hardly convalescent from a bad attack of flu which prevented my being at the funeral, and thinking and writing are very difficult. But if I had been able to write more usefully, it would have been along these lines.
My brother George was always very reticent about himself. He never paraded his work or professional status. He was not egoistically dogmatic, though he had very clear and earnest convictions. I always felt his was not a professional mentality but had a consecrated purpose. Perhaps you know I had the opportunity which I greatly valued, of bringing about the consultation he had with my dear friend Lord Dawson, whose professional catholicity led to the removal of the ban upon homoeopathy by the B.M.A.
Especially in later years he sacrificed a good deal of time and energy regarding well-paying patients in order to keep poor sufferers in comfort. Of course you know he gained a university medal at Aberdeen.
In religion he was earnest and convinced rather than orthodox. He always tried to make Gods way his way. He had a rich sense of humour with a good deal of wholesome irony and satire.
I was frequently hearing from friends I met, of his kindness and gracious attitude (though he was never patronizing) towards his hospital patients. There was something in his look and manner that cheered and blessed.
With all his generous and kindly temperament, he had a keen and insistent sense of right and truth and justice. He had a deep love for literature and a wide knowledge of it. I think he enjoyed his gratuitous services most of all. Up to the last — and I saw him frequently — being under his treatment– he was keen and brisk and bright.
Well, I am sorry these notes have to be so meagre and scrappy. But I hope they contain suggestions that may be of some use.