This is one of the greatest tasks with which a physician has to deal. One of the most common causes of failure and of the making of mongrels, is just like this taking of the case. We should examine a case in exactly the same way as we would examine a prover for the image expressed in the provings. When we have the full symptom picture of the case, we shall be able to see the patient in all his peculiarities, and shall also see how far he has deviated from his normal self.
The greatest mistake a young man can make in the beginning of his practice is carelessness, and even Dr. Dever’s Colocynth case should have been recorded, and for this reason, not because he would not have known a Colocynthis case of colic again when he saw it, but if we have a record of all conditions and sicknesses that a patient has been subjected to in the course of his life, and in years after he comes to us again, our memory of the peculiarities of his constitution, forms a picture in our mind, of the action of disease in this case. These are true sick images, which we never get in any other way, and which the, study of books can never teach.
I have thousands of records with opinions and prognostications, which, even if they fail, will teach me something. It is important, that only the general questions may be so put that they can be answered by yes or no, as, have you distress in the head, stomach, etc., but even that may be avoided by – suggesting that they have neglected this or that organ, or that function. If a man says he has headache, there is nothing to prescribe upon, you do not care for that, but when he says with this or that modality, then you have a symptom to record. Questions must be so framed as to bring out explanations. Many patients will return to us with the question. “Doctor what did you expect after that medicine?” It is an easy matter to ask what they have observed, and when you have learned, of course you expected it. Many patients ask for a diagnosis, for your opinion as to what is the matter with them. The answer, of course, will be, “you have told me all your deviations from health, all the disturbances of which you are aware?” “Yes.” “Well, this record is what is the matter with you.”
The structural changes of course will be noted, and told them if advisable, but they are always a result of sickness, and not the true image of disease. In phthisis, granular disease of the kidneys, etc., you see such results but not the image of the sickness; therefore not the symptoms for prescription. Hahnemann never discouraged the study of pathology, anatomy, or the sciences, but constantly holds up to us the images of the sickness that leads to these results, and advises us not to make the mistake of prescribing upon other than symptoms.
No man can ever become great who has not the ability to see this nature of disease in the sickness around him. I consider myself the center around which my patients move in their orbits, the inner circle of which are very near to me indeed. These are the most intelligent, the most appreciative, the most teachable of our great truths, and the dearest of all with whom I have to deal. I am their trusted friend; they love me, and I love them. We enjoy each other. Outside of this is another circle, still a little farther removed, a little less intelligent, for whom I can do a little less. Back still farther is another, and another and still another; until the outer circle, that of ignorance, is reached, for whom I can do less than for all the rest; but even now, more than the old school, better than any other method. It is never among these that we make our brilliant cures, that we do the work of the master. It is in the inner circle nearest to our own intelligence in which these great things are done. I tell you gentlemen with the practice of Homoeopathy such as we are aiming at, we have the power to change the whole moral nature of the man, to relieve and give control of passions, to prevent the development of evil in the young, and restore the diseased nature of comparative health.
One more point and I have done. You can readily see how when one is continually running off after new remedies, remedies that have but few symptoms proven and recorded, and neglect the many remedies of which we have more exact knowledge through our own records and provings, that one would become more and more dissatisfied with his work every day, and necessarily resort to doubtful methods and finally mongrelism; so beg your young men to take their cases carefully, and record their progress conscientiously and in time they will become what all are striving to be, master prescribers.
Dr. D.: I would not go on record as opposing Hahnemann, but only instance cases in which such particularity did not seem necessary.
Dr. Kent: If in one prescription you had given Colocynth and in another for the same patient Cuprum, and still another something else, we begin to see the relation of remedies. How did the older homoeopaths preserve the facts of one remedy following another well, or of their being inimical to one another, except by the most careful records and prescriptions.