“DELIVERING THE GOODS”.
Much has been said (but less written) about the cause of the drift of the public away from the medical profession. It is a frequent topic of discussion between physicians who intelligently observe the signs of the times and reflect upon them.
That such a drift exists and is making itself keenly felt in the medical profession is obvious.
Witness the rapid increase in numbers and power of all the numerous non-medical cults, including osteopathy and chiropractic, and the medico-political opposition to them.
Witness the feverish political activities of Federal, State and municipal “official medicine,” continually seeking more power that it may be exercised to compel compliance with its edicts and enable the medical organization to retain control.
Witness the widespread literary propaganda in the public press, inspired by “the organization,” constantly calling attention to the wonderful discoveries and accomplishments of modern medical men and institutions, presented in the most attractive and popular style, designed to arouse public interest in their doings. Good writing, too-much of it.
“Theres a reason.” In fact, there are many reasons, some of which are carefully kept in the background and seldom referred to.
Come straight to the point and let us face the situation squarely.
The main reason, from the publics point of view, is that the medical men are not “delivering the goods”.
Hence, the “drift” to non-medical practitioners.
As vendors of supposedly curative remedies they are too often guilty of the crime of “substitution”. Instead of individualized therapeutic service and curative medication, too many physicians are passing over the counter, at a high price, specious imitations of both, in the form of hurried interviews, three-minute “examinations,” superficial opinions, diagnoses which are merely guesses, “standardized” medical and surgical procedures, “snapshot” prescriptions and “bluff.”
Or they are going to the other extreme and beguiling the patient into submitting to a round of elaborate and expensive special examinations and tests, most of which are quite unnecessary and lead to the employment of costly medical or surgical measures which have no curative relation to the disease process itself-if it exists-but are directed toward some mere product of the disease; hence are merely palliative.
“Laboratory workers” are constantly making discoveries, by so-called “research,” of new “specifics” for various diseases which are duly brought to the attention of the ubiquitous reporter, who is allowed to write them up for the benefit of the public with just the right amount of judicious censoring (so that the requirements of professional modesty may be met), and just the right number of discreet reservations (in order that a quick shift may be made if the therapeutic dart turns out to be a boomerang) Meanwhile the advertising agencies, the manufactories and “laboratories” thrive, and the exploiters “wax and grow fat”.
Is the public really as dense and as gullible as it appears to be? Or is it beginning to see through this fog of delusion and mis-representation?
Two recent incidents, involving both schools of medicine and selected from among many of a similar character in the personal experience of the writer, may throw some light on the situation.
In a case which has been under the care of a prominent homoeopathic physician of long experience and excellent reputation, inquiry was made as to why a change of physicians had been made.
The reply was that, first, the patient (a woman) had “not been well since an attack of influenza four months before.” During which time several “complications” had developed; second, that the physician had not seemed to be interested in the medical features of the case and would not take time to listen to symptoms nor make proper examinations.
“His examinations were too cursory,” said the husband. “He would come in, glance at the patient, ask about the temperature, cut short or ignore any attempt to relate the history since his last visit, hurriedly put up some medicine and leave before he had been in the house five minutes”.
When surprise was expressed, the patient said, half apologetically: “Well, what could you expect? He is too busy and sees too many people. You know he charges only one dollar at the office and two dollars at the house and a great many people go to him for that reason. He is always rushed”.
She then went on to relate that she had been at his office repeatedly, always finding his waiting room full of patients, and that several times she had seen him, at the close of his office hour, leave the house to make outside visit, while several angry patients yet remained who had not been attended.