MODERN medicine is dominated by the principle of scientific diagnosis. The scientific part of diagnosis is characterized by the use of so-called scientific instruments of every kind. In the olden days the doctor carried a few tools of his trade in his pocket. The modern doctor is able to use an enormous number of tools and delicate machines which would fill a museum. Diagnosis has been specialized. There are X-ray workers who have an elaborate X-ray apparatus which costs more than L1,000.
There are laboratory workers who have extensive establishment in which they make countless chemical and other tests. There are other laboratory workers who make scientific tests on unfortunate animals such as rats, guinea pigs, etc. Every specialist has a large array of tools and instruments used in his profession.
The average individual who consults a general practitioner expects that the doctor will employ a considerable number of instruments. It is considered more scientific to use a stethoscope which impresses many, than to listen to the action of the heart and of the lungs by applying the ear to the chest wall. It is considered more scientific to look at a patient through spectacles or a magnifying glass than to look at him with the naked eyes, although he naked eye may be quite sufficient for all practical purposes.
We can learn much of the condition of the chest by tapping the chest wall and listening to the sound. We can learn all that is worth learning by typing the chest with the finger, but it is more impressive if a dainty hammer of a peculiar make is used for the purpose.
Patients often declare proudly: “I went to Doctor So and So and he used fifteen different instruments on me.” Unfortunately mechanical tools are mechanical tools. The finest diagnostic instrument has not been changes since the time of Hippocrates. That instrument is the brain. The brainless individual who uses a large array of scientific tools will probably make a wrong or a silly diagnosis, while the medical man or lay healer who uses his brains and no instruments whatever may make a most valuable diagnosis.
The brain, as stated before, is the most valuable diagnostic instrument. It diagnoses not only diseases but other things as well. There are brainy though unlearned men who can foretell the weather better than the most learned meteorologist. The brain is merely the centre of the human intelligence. Man possesses the most wonderful instrument of precision in the five senses. There are old doctors who can make a most striking diagnosis by their sense of touch.
There are men who, by feeling the pulse in various parts of the body, can diagnose disease. There are others who can and do diagnose disease by careful examination of the urine with the naked eye. There are others who can spot disease by studying carefully the aspect of the coloured part of the eye, the iris. There are experienced doctors who can diagnose numerous diseases by their sense of smell., etc. Doctors must use their five senses, and especially their sixth sense which is called common sense. Many of the instrumental diagnosticians make no use whatever of their five senses, and do not possess the most valuable of all senses, the sixth sense.
The true diagnostician must possess experience, instinct, vision, and he must act like a detective. It is useless to examine the organs of the chest and the abdomen, and to let loose a team of ten or more diagnostic specialists who may waste weeks in an attempt at an exact diagnosis if the cause of the disease is to be found in marital unhappiness, in fear of disgrace, in the fear that some youthful escapade may become known.
It is useless to try to discover with scientific instruments the cause of a disorder if the doctor is not aware that self-poisoning from the bowel produces innumerable diseases and aggravated greatly every disease known to medical science. It is useless to employ scientific instruments in large umbers if the patient is ill through disappointed love, through hidden vices, through foiled ambitions, etc.
The doctor who wishes to cure must act all along as a detective. He must listen carefully to the patients complaints, but he must see through the statements of his patient, and by observing his face the will very frequently come to the conclusion that the patients statements are either untrue or only partly true, that much valuable information has been withheld, and, like a detective, he must put one searching question after the other until he gets all the facts.
I would illustrate my observations by a few examples from my own experience. A charming, elderly lady came to me complaining of serious physical disorders which obviously were due to some nerve factor or factors. She had consulted about a hundred specialists who had made the best possible diagnosis, but they had utterly failed in curing her. As the medical profession had failed she came to me, lay healer, and sought my advice.
I tried my best to get all the facts out of her and to cure her by dietetic and homoeopathic means, but produced only insufficient improvement in her condition. I would not give up the case in despair, so I went to her house in order to find out whether there was some factor in the house responsible for her grave troubles.
The house was perfectly kept. There was not a suspicious smell or cooking vessel which could account for her troubles. There were young servants in the house and an old servant. I earnestly talked to the old servant and I discovered that the old lady lived with a niece who was about forty years old. The niece was not popular with the servants, she was not popular with anyone. She was peculiar. Animals disliked her. When she put some flowers to her dress the flowers withered in a few minutes. When she sat in the garden twigs and flowers near her drooped. I came to the conclusion that the niece might be the cause of the mystery disease.
I sent for her and could understand why she was unpopular. She produced in me a sense of dislike and disquiet approaching horror. I went to the old lady and demanded that there should be a temporary separation between her and her niece. She was the only daughter of the old ladys only sister and had been living with her aunt for a great many years. I had the greatest difficult in inducing both aunt and niece to agree to a separation. The separation was effected, the aunt recovered and she was ever grateful to me for having brought about the departure of the only daughter of her only sister.
A wealthy woman living in the Midlands was desperately ill. The best doctors and consultants in the neighbourhood had not been able to diagnose her case, so she was sent to a celebrated institution devoted to scientific diagnosis. She stayed at the clinic for three weeks. Every possible test was made, and in the end she was informed that she suffered from an extremely rare disease of the pancreas, not from diabetes, which was absolutely incurable. The lady was in despair. She told her friends about her troubles and one of them advised her to come to me.
She arrived at my consulting rooms with a large parcel which contained a vast number of X-ray photographs and dozens of documents relating to the numerous tests which a veritable army of experts had made. She asked me to study the X-ray pictures and the numerous reports, but I told her at once that life was too short to study these documents and pictures. Instead I enquired: “Did the people at the scientific institution ask you anything about your usual diet?”
“No, they asked no questions about my diet,” I took down particulars of her and I found to my horror that she took about fifteen cups of poisonously strong tea, boiling hot, with five or six pieces of sugar per cup. So I came to the conclusion that possibly, though not necessarily, she might be suffering from poisoning thorough hot drink and abuse of tea and white sugar. U immediately forbade strong tea, hot liquid and sugar, put her on a natural diet rich in vitamins, gave her a few homoeopathic drugs, and in two or three weeks she was perfectly well and played golf.
I was sitting in a railway compartment. With me there were a sickly looking middle-aged man and his wife. I was reading some medical journals and books, and I noticed that then lady was eyeing my books and journals with great interest. She started a conversation about the weather and about the train, and after this introduction she said: “You seem to be interested in medicine.” Upon my reply she told me that her husband was suffering from heart disease. He had just come back from the Continent where he had spent six months under the best doctors in Nauheim and elsewhere, but all the heart specialists in England and on the Continent had failed to do him any good.
I wished to help the poor soul and asked the patient a few questions. Without listening to his heart I asked him what his diet was, and he told me that he lived on the ordinary food of the average Englishman. Not satisfied with this explanation I asked for details and put a number of searching questions which disclosed the fact that he was mustard fiend. He ate incredible quantities of mustard at every meal and with every meal and with every kind of food. He put mustard in the soup, mustard in the vegetables, ate mustard with his cheese, took a tablespoonful of mustard with his beef, and so forth.
I had not the slightest idea whether mustard taken to excess could produce heart disease, but I felt quite certain that in logic and common sense this terrible abuse of mustard was bound to do him a great deal of harm, and that in some way or other it might have upset the heart. I told him: “I shall have to stop your mustard.” He became frantic. “I do not mind leaving off anything your like from my diet by It must keep my mustard.” I callously said: “If you wish to commit suicide then you must commit suicide, but I can assure you the end will not be a pleasant one.”
I made some other very disagreeable remarks. He hesitatingly agreed to leave off mustard for a whole month, and in order to make sure I pointed out the danger to him and administered an oath that he would absolutely obtain form mustard for a month. That was the only prescription I gave him. After a month he wrote to me full of gratitude that he was cured, that heart was normal.