If the physician is dealing with acute cases he must take into consideration the nature of the case as a malady, and so also with chronic cases. It is supposed that he is conversant with the disease from having observed the symptoms of a great many cases, and is therefore able to hold before the mind the image of the disease. When he is thoroughly conversant with the very image of the sicknesses that exist upon the human race he is then prepared to study Materia Medica. All the imitations of miasms are found in drugs. There is no miasm of the human race that does not have its imitation in drugs. The animal kingdom has in itself the image of sickness, and the vegetable and mineral kingdoms in like manner, and if man were perfectly conversant with the substances of these three kingdoms he could treat the whole human race.
By application the physician must fill his mind with images that correspond to the sickness of the human race. It is being conversant with symptomatology, with the symptom images of disease, that makes one a physician. The books of the present times are defective, in that they ignore symptomatology and do not furnish us an image of the sickness, They are extensively treatises on pathology, upon heredity, with very little of the patient himself.
If we go back to earlier times, when the physician did not know so much about the microscope, when he did not examine into the cause of disease so minutely, we will find in such works as “Watson’s Practice” much better descriptions of sickness. Watson stands at the bedside and relates what his patient look like, and hence it is a grand old book for the homoeopathic physician Chambers, in his lectures at St. Mary’s Hospital, London, also relates with accuracy the appearance of the patient.
At the present time the old-school physician says:”I want to know nothing about your symptoms; take this and go to the first drug store and have it filled.” This is the state of things at the present time, a look at the tongue, a feel of the pulse, and “take this,” handling a prescription to be filled at the nearest pharmacy. Is that observing the sick? Can such a man be the guardian of the sick, when it requires time to bring out every little detail of sickness, and a nervous girl is driven off and never permitted to tell her symptoms?
Such patients have told me after an hour’s conversation and taking of symptoms: “The other doctor told me I had hysteria, that there was nothing the matter with me, that I was just nervous.” That is what modern pathology leads men to think and say. Everything and say. Everything is denied that cannot be discovered by the senses; hence this false science has crept upon us until it is a typical folly. As to the end of sickness, what sickness will do is of no great matter because by the symptoms we have perceived the nature of the illness and may safely trust to the remedy. If no remedy be applied to check the progress of the disease it may localize in the heart, lungs or kidneys, but the nature of the sickness exists in that state of disordered government expressed by signs and symptoms.