*This article appeared in London Truth of January 8th. The meat of the matter will be found in the last two paragraphs. Truth,as all known, is what might be termed a “word journal,” and when it advise the people and the government to pay attention to Homoeopathy it means something.
-ED. H. R.
The office of this journal continues to be a focus of illumination from all quarters on the present condition of the art and science of medicine. The light is poured out in communications from doctors, from “quacks”, from patients, and even from those who are whole and need not a physician, but have contracted strong views about physic and those who prescribe or consume it.
Even if space were available, no good purpose would be served by presenting to the public a mass of more or less controversial correspondence, which would only convey the impression of a Babel of confused, contradictory, and in some cases very heated voices. All one can do with any good effect is to keep one aspect of the subject at a time.
From a number of letters, therefore, evoked by the article On “Killing and Curing,” which appeared in Truth of December 18, I will select first a very elaborate statement of the case for Homoeopathy which I have received from Dr. E. Petrie Hoyle, an American homoeopath who is in a position which makes him an accredited exponent of this subject.
Reference was made in my last article to the attitude of orthodox medicine towards Homoeopathy as a particular example of the operation of the boycott of “outside” practitioners as a hindrance to the advance of knowledge in the ranks of the “registered” profession; and, among other things, it was said that “if, as is apparently the case, homoeopathic practice does not cure less or kill more people than allopathic, one is a good as the other from the public point of view, and it seems highly probable that if the allopath studied and assimilated homoeopathic doctrine instead of arrogantly boycotting it his usefulness to his patients would be increased by the possession of that much additional knowledge. On this last point Dr. Hoyle observes:–
“The homoeopath starts out in practice with identically the same amount of theory, knowledge, and even bedside (hospital) practice as any allopath, for in Europe all homoeopaths are such only by reason of their brave acknowledgment that allopathy did not satisfy their conscientious consideration of their patients. So after leaving the ranks of the allopaths their brother homoeopath has to add to his previous knowledge a new knowledge, which the allopath is debarred from acquiring because of the collegiate boycott and because allopathy condemns without a trial. * * * Thus it can be said that we all start fair, so to speak, in the knowledge of how to cure or kill.
We homoeopaths use, identically with the allopaths, the same bacteriology, pathology, preventive medicine, hygiene, diagnosis, etc., but our therapeutics and prognosis are anything but the same, and, when viewed by the light of statistics, the difference is all in favor of Homoeopathy and those patients who employ this prognosis.”
Dr. Hoyle follows this up with some American examination figures, which indicate that, in that country at any rate, the medical neophyte trained in a homoeopathic college starts with some educational advantages over the allopath; but this point is of minor interest to the British reader. Of very much more consequence are the statistics which he gives of the comparative results of homoeopathic and allopathic therapeutics in certain specific diseases. These are shown in the following death rates:–
Average world homoeopathic death rate for 32 years.. 3.9
Do. do. allopathic……………………..29.5
(For all details, including actual hospital percentages, see the Medical Century, New York, August, 1912.)
Homoeopathic death rate (without anti-toxin)…… 3.8
Allopathic do. (with anti-toxin)………………16.1
(See the Medical Century, New York, February, 1912.)
The next table covers a variety of diseases, and is given on the authority of the American Institute of Homoeopathy, the percentages being averaged over a period of 100 years:–
Cholera…………………. 49.57 …. 16.83
Yellow Fever…………….. 43.68 …. 5.33
Pneumonia……………….. 31.22 …. 5.34
Measles…………………. 6. 3 …. 3. 7
Hydrocephalus……………. 90. 0 …. 57. 0
Pleurisy………………… 13. 5 …. 2. 5
Typhoid…………………. 33.95 …. 8.58
Diphtheria………………. 50. 3 …. II. 2
Erysipelas………………. 8. 6 …. I. 6
Small-pox……………….. 33. 3 …. 18. 5
Peritonitis……………… 20. 5 …. 4. 5
Scarlet Fever……………. 20. 6 …. 2.17
Croup (membranous)……….. 78. 5 …. 21. 5
Diarrhoea……………….. 21. 0 …. 9. 0
Dysentery……………….. 22. 0 …. 3. 0
Finally, here are some statistics of the result of general hospital treatment in New England under the two systems in 1910. Dr. Hoyle cites the North American Journal of Homoeopathy, 1911. p. 40, Editorial Department, as the authority for them:–
treated. Deaths of deaths.
Mass. Homoeopathic Hospital.. 4,925 ….178 … 3.61
Mass. General Hospital (Allopathic………………….. 6,392 ….450 … 7.04
Worcester City Hospital (Allopathic)……………………. 4,630 ….410 … 8.85
For 1911, says Dr. Hoyle, Massachusetts Homoeopathic Hospital had a death percentage of 3.4.
Nor is it only in dealing with the body that Homoeopathy has the advantage, according to Dr. Hoyles figures; it comes out equally well in ministering to a mind diseased. In ten allopathic hospitals for the insane Dr. Hoyle gives the percentage of cures in all cases admitted (on the authority of the Report of the State Board in Lunacy for the State of New York) as 23.92.
In the Westboro State Homoeopathic Hospital (Mass.) for five years ending March, 1909. the percentage of cures was nearly double this figure–46.31. In Middletown State Homoeopathic Hospital (N. Y. State) during the last five years it was 40.31. in three other homoeopathic hospitals the rate ranges for recent periods from 32 to 45.53 per cent.
These figures are Dr. Hoyles not mine. If they are inaccurate they can easily be disproved; but it is difficult to believe that the huge disparities shown in many cases can be entirely founded on error or misrepresentation. I conclude that the case for Homoeopathy was very much understated when it was said in my previous article that “homoeopathic practice does not cure less or kill more than allopathic.” It appears to cure more and kill less.
The letter from which I take these statistics deals with the attitude of “orthodoxy” towards Homoeopathy at too much length for reproduction here, and the following passages will suffice to show that homoeopaths have to say on this subject:–
“It is not as if allopathy was of one mind, or even content with all its work. Its ideas and tenets are changing all the time. Works of reference–that is to say books for teaching the profession–are out of date every few years. Yet the prime factor of Homoeopathy, the Law of Similia, has not changed since 1706.
Hahnemann insisted that as it was a law of nature it must have existed for all time, and he even showed that Hippocrates mentioned it several times.
“You mention how allopaths condemned Pasteur for years, because he was a layman, yet they have adopted his views. Another instance of their worthless opinions is the way they hounded out Semmelweiss, of Vienna. He was Professor of Obstetrics and discovered asepsis, and when he ordered that no one who went near the pathological sections should enter his lying-in wards he was called insane, and was actually put away in an asylum.
Auenbrugger (Wien), who discovered the method and signs of chest percussion, kept back his knowledge for twenty years, saying eventually, in his preface, I realize that envy and blame, and even hatred and calumny, have never failed to come to men who have illumined art or science or have added to their perfection. So when the allopaths pour contempt on Hahnemann and Homoeopathy, we only suffer as did these men and many others.
“We find the same uncertainty and the same acrimonious fighting going on in the allopathic ranks to the present moment. Sir Almroth Wright, whose name is known to every reader as the leader of a new therapy (which is getting dangerously though crudely near homoeopathic thought), said, in addressing a public audience:–
“The previous erected edifice of medicine has broken down and a new one has to be erected from the foundations. We must cast aside all our old beliefs and admit we have been practicing quackery. The new medicine may not be perfected, but the old one is no good.
“Before allopathy can condemn Homoeopathy with any face, (1) it must be of one mind as to it own value and its own doctrines and methods; (2) it must have tested Homoeopathy publicly in hospitals (but, of course, under suitable control and under the guidance of a competent instructor).
“For 116 years we have offered them our knowledge, but we have been scouted. My suggestion is that we should now turn our attention to the laity, and tell them where their safety lies.”
My own suggestion would be rather that the laity should turn their attention to Homoeopathy and to the wider question of the validity of the pretensions of the medical profession in regard to the treatment of disease.
Far too much is taken for granted in this matter by the laity; indeed, from such utterances as that of Sir Almroth Wright, quoted above, it would seem that even more is taken for granted by the laity than by the more open-minded of the doctors themselves.
The whole subject has acquired and entirely new importance for the public with the passing of the National Insurance Act, which makes the State directly responsible for the efficient medical treatment of millions of its citizens, and thereby requires it to ascertain that they are treated in the best way possible and that the vast sums of money raised for the purpose are expended to the best advantage. In America the State takes no account of distinctions between different schools of medical opinion. Homoeopathy and allopathy flourish side by side in public medical institutions. There consequently exists in America a very valuable field for testing the respective pretensions of homoeopaths and allopaths in regard to the treatment of diseases.
It is obviously the duty of the Insurance Commissioners, as soon as they have got their business into working order, to enter upon some inquiry of this kind; and if it shows anything like the superiority of results for Homoeopathy that is indicated in the above figures, it will become their further duty to make provision for affording homoeopathic treatment to insured persons wherever they can be induced to try it.
Even if the two systems showed themselves pretty much on a par in regard to killing and curing, there would remain one overwhelming argument in favor of Homoeopathy in its incomparably greater economy in the use of drugs. Dr. Hoyle, noticing this point in the letter above quoted, states that L100 in homoeopathic drugs will go as far as L2,000 in allopathic. The importance of this point is self-evident. The cost of drugs is a big item in the expenditure under the Insurance Act, as everybody will have seen from the part it has played in the preliminary wrangling over terms of service, and a little difference of 1,900 per cent. in this item is a matter of very considerable consequence to all the contributories under the Act. With this very practical hint I commend the whole subject to the consideration of Mr. Lloyd George and his assistants.