IN attempting to ascertain how the outside world looks on the medical profession, we are forced to the conclusion, if we look at the humour that has appeared in our literature on the subject, that the sole object for which doctor exist is to remove the rest of mankind into a better and happier world without waiting for the ordinary course of nature.
This is well illustrated in the story of the Englishman who went to reside in a remote island of the Hebrides, and, falling sick, requested of one of his few neighbours that a doctor might be called. “Oh,” was the reply, “it would be very difficult. The nearest doctor is forty miles away,” “The what do you do in cases of illness like mine ?” was the not unnatural enquiry; and to his surprise the sick man got the reply, “Oh, we all die natural death here.”.
An even better illustration occurred in the case where a man went into an undertakers shop to order a coffin for an uncle. “Im very sorry to heart of you trouble,” said an the undertaker. “Id not even heart that Mr. Williams was dead. When did he die ? “Oh, hes not dead yet,” came the reply, “but the doctor says he cannot last till the morning, and he knows what he gave him.”.
A further example tells of a doctor making a call upon a patient who enquired of one of the family immediately on his arrival, “Did the medicine I sent last night prove effective ?” “Sure and it did, sure,” came thee reply. “Poor Mick died this morning as quiet as a lamb.”.
The Press is sometimes unwittingly guilty of conveying the same idea, namely, that the main aim of the medical profession to remove their patients into another world. The following is an extract from the gossip column of an American paper: “Our esteemed fellow-citizen Abner Brown will go into hospital to- morrow to be operated on for appendicitis. He will leave a wife and two children.”.
The tendency of the world has always been to jibe at the medico for his failures or his apparent failures, and this is not always in a kindly manner. We forget for the time being the large amount of time and skill which is given ungrudgingly and gratuitously by the profession. We misuse our bodies in every possible way, and when we have committed injury almost beyond repair, call in the doctor and then sneer at him for his lack of success.
No better story to illustrate this could be found than that of the doctor who looks a weeks leave to goon a short shooting expedition. Shortly after his return to his practice he was met by a friend, who stopped him and asked, “Did you kill much while you were away ?” “No,” was the reply of the doctor; “Id real bad luck. I hardly killed anything.” “Well, well, thats too bad,” replied the candid friend; “you could have done better than that by staying at home and at attending to your regular business”.