THE SYMPTOM TOTALITY


Much has been written about, and great stress laid on, that greatest of all requisites to an accurate homoeopathic prescription, the symptom totality; but little seems to have been known, or really understood, as to just what that totality embraces. If such has been known it was never clearly, intelligently and concisely presented.


Much has been written about, and great stress laid on, that greatest of all requisites to an accurate homoeopathic prescription, the symptom totality; but little seems to have been known, or really understood, as to just what that totality embraces. If such has been known it was never clearly, intelligently and concisely presented.

It is our frank opinion that the man or woman proficiently competent to teach materia medica has not yet arrived upon the scene. Our students are turned loose into the materia medica as a stranger into a dense primeval forest and there left to grope his way, each to find his path alone with neither guide, compass, nor definite instructions as to just where to go or just what to look for; and we expect him to read and mentally digest this dizzy maze.

Our materia medica makers have shown a greater desire to accumulate symptoms than a desire to know and teach just what those symptoms mean and how they should be classified that we may have a better understanding of their relative importance. Let it be understood that this criticism is in no way to be construed as destructive or reflectionary, but to point the way to real construction.

You will note that the true drug pathogenesis is so mingled in with the reactionary results of that drugs pathogenesis that it takes years of practical study to be able to divorce them and discover just what symptoms truly and positively indicate the drug. Masses of symptoms, irrespective, are or may be all right if you wish merely to find a similar remedy, but it is quite another thing if you wish to find the exactly similar remedy.

There are certain elements absolutely necessary to the complete symptom totality. The uninitiated believes it to be the complete list of symptoms gathered from the patient, plus nothing more. The brightest minds of our school even to date take that same mass plus the rare, strange and peculiar, plus an approximate regulated dose. But neither of those express the true totality.

The accurate prescriber must have the true totality, which may even consist of but two essentials, that rare, strange and peculiar distinguishing mark of the drug, plus the exact amount of drug potential; or in addition to those only such other essentials as are produced directly by that drugs primary pathogenetic action on the healthy human body, not only on one individual alone, but in all individuals, as no drug can remove a pathogenesis, drug or disease, that that drug cannot produce. The distinct totality that any single drug can produce is very small, limited and distinctly individual. It takes an extremely intelligent, accurate, and a very acute observer to find and prescribe the indicated remedy. Occasionally very accurate prescriptions are made, but very, very few with knowledge a priori.

There has been this lack of knowledge, on the part of all the masters, of the necessity of distinctly separating the true drug pathogenesis from the bulk of the symptoms brought about by the drugs action lighting up latent predispositions into activity and thereby producing an endless train of symptoms not related directly to the drug itself but to the individual alone. Were this not true every individual taking that particular drug would give the exact same list of symptoms in toto, but experience proves that they do not. So you see how foolish it is to use those symptoms to attempt to find the similar remedy, or to enclose them in the symptom totality.

When the true symptom totality is removed by the similar remedy all the other symptoms brought about, or dependent on that drugs true pathogenesis will disappear, since the cause of their activity will have been removed.—A. PULFORD.

Allan D. Sutherland
Dr. Sutherland graduated from the Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia and was editor of the Homeopathic Recorder and the Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy.
Allan D. Sutherland was born in Northfield, Vermont in 1897, delivered by the local homeopathic physician. The son of a Canadian Episcopalian minister, his father had arrived there to lead the local parish five years earlier and met his mother, who was the daughter of the president of the University of Norwich. Four years after Allan’s birth, ministerial work lead the family first to North Carolina and then to Connecticut a few years afterward.
Starting in 1920, Sutherland began his premedical studies and a year later, he began his medical education at Hahnemann Medical School in Philadelphia.
Sutherland graduated in 1925 and went on to intern at both Children’s Homeopathic Hospital and St. Luke’s Homeopathic Hospital. He then was appointed the chief resident at Children’s. With the conclusion of his residency and 2 years of clinical experience under his belt, Sutherland opened his own practice in Philadelphia while retaining a position at Children’s in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department.
In 1928, Sutherland decided to set up practice in Brattleboro.