THE VALUE OF THE FAMILY PHYSICIAN


The day of the baby or child specialist is over, for after all, babies are people, and if a physician is not skilled in the treatment of grown folks, he is probably no more capable of dealing with sick children. There was Dr. Abraham Jacobi, the greatest pediatrician America has produced, and Dr. Jacobi was a general practitioner throughout his long and illustrious life.


[Read before the Womens Homoeopathic League of Connecticut, October 18, 1932.].

Madame Chairman and Members of the Womans Homoeopathic League:.

From our respective homes and varied occupations we have come together upon this occasion because of our belief in that system of cure known as homoeopathy. Doubtless, as good homoeopaths we have many times experienced the power of that almost infinitesimal dose which acts directly upon the vital force which heals. Given the opportunity, each one of us would be eager to tell of the benefits received, the instant relief from pain, the renewed interest in living, because of the faithful and under- standing ministrations of our family physicians.

Within the past year the daily press has shown numerous articles expressing the need, both in cities and in smaller communities, for the general practitioner, the real old-time family physician; his species is rapidly becoming extinct because of the increasing vogue for the specialist. Here is a quotation from Dr. Brady of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. His article is headed, Vogue of the Child Specialist Appears to Be on the Wane.

The day of the baby or child specialist is over, for after all, babies are people, and if a physician is not skilled in the treatment of grown folks, he is probably no more capable of dealing with sick children. There was Dr. Abraham Jacobi, the greatest pediatrician America has produced, and Dr. Jacobi was a general practitioner throughout his long and illustrious life.

Dr. William Linder, president of the Kings County Medical Society, declared, as given in the press: “The specialists are raising havoc with the public conception of medicine. The need for the same respect and regard the people had for the old family physician is paramount today.” And again Dr. Linder says, speaking before the Bureau of Charities: “Despite the prominence given the specialist, I have the temerity to assert that the family physician is still the backbone of our profession”.

In view of this trend of the times it may be interesting and profitable for us to consider the value emotionally, psychically, spiritually, as well as physically, of the family physician and his understanding service, year in and year out, from the beginning of life to the end, and all the way between. The subject has been impressed upon me during the past year by two examples, curiously enough both depending upon money, one the lack, the other a plenty. A young homoeopathic doctor, two years out of college, has settled in a small city here in New England. He is eminently fitted by disposition, personality and temperament for the ideal family physician. As such he began his practice, winning the affection and confidence of those who came to him as patients.

Through clinical work at the hospital he has been assisting a tonsil specialist who would like to turn his work over to the younger man. It pays well, larger fees, cash payments (which seem imperative just now). The decision is in the balance; shall he become a specialist? If he does, a good general practitioner in homoeopathy will be lost, and there are none too many. To encourage the student and young doctor to hold to his ideals, namely, the practice of Hahnemann, is one way in which we as members of the League, avowing our belief in homoeopathy, can help to carry on.

The other illustration is Mary, age 16, who is fat enough to be an interesting case to the specialist in thyroid, pituitary and other glands involved in those conditions. Marys family can afford to go to one of the most eminent specialists in New York City. He has for more than twelve years followed all the usual and unusual, procedures of subcutaneous injections of gland products, also various kinds of diets. At one time she has been given a limited amount of food, then calories carefully counted, again a diet of green vegetables; now as one of the latest theories Mary is being given large quantities of protein by means of meat and many eggs, with the idea of “burning up the fat”. With it all, Mary is still much too stout.

Now this family has also a good family physician, an allopath (no homoeopath would stand for such treatment to one of his patients). He is conservative, and stands by quietly smiling, and says, “Use your proteins; youll send for me when her liver gets out of order,” which it did, and the eggs had to be cut down. So the two physicians, the specialist and the family doctor, are not in agreement on the case. I would rather trust the family physicians who sees her as a member of a large family, each one of whom he knows well, their environment, heredity and influences, than I would trust the specialist who sees her merely as a gland case, with a lack which he seeks to supply by introducing into the blood outside products. Of course, you know that the homoeopathic way would be to give the indicated remedy which would stimulate the patients own glands to work and furnish her own individual extracts needed to bring the fat to normal.

A friend just returned from a large western city told me of his experience in a professional building filled with doctors. He went to one of the offices on the top floor to see an oculist about his eyes. While being examined he happened to mention that he had palpitation. The eye specialist sent him to the heart specialist on the floor below. This doctor told him he also had stomach trouble, and sent him to another office for special stomach examination and diagnosis. This was followed by an order from the stomach specialist for a chronic irrigation by the nurse on the next floor down. By the time the patient got out of the building he had paid thirty or forty dollars in fees instead of for one office prescription.

Dr. John Samuel Bassett of New York City, who studied with Oliver Wendell Holmes, was reported to have said: “Poor people get better service from their physicians because they stand by them; they havent the means to indulge in fads and fancies. Their doctor who has been with them year after year understands, not only their symptoms, but their lives and circumstances”.

In an article on the Country Doctor, which Dr. Close wrote, he made this statement:.

The general practitioner or family physician is rapidly passing away and there are none to take his place. The highly technical, ultra-scientific young specialists turned out nowadays, if set down in the old country doctors place, and away from his fellow specialists and laboratory and hospital facilities upon which he depends, would be lost and helpless.

“His smile is worth a thousand dollars in the sick room,” was said of the country doctor who was the subject of this sketch.

We all know and bless the skillful homoeopathic surgeon who considers his work in relation to the whole case and whose aid in certain conditions is imperative. Many prominent surgeons, who a few years ago favored early radical operations, have assumed a different attitude in many of the cases, namely, that of non- surgical interference. Our friend, a surgeon of over forty years experience, told me he was compiling a paper with the title, Cases I Have Not Operated On! In the judgement of the early masters every physician intending to specialize should serve at least ten or even twenty years in general practice before taking up his specialty.

Dr. Close once gave an address to a senior class in high school upon the choice of medicine as a profession, in which he said:.

In the good old days the doctor was the family physician, the man who looked after us when we were too sick to respond to mothers treatment. He was and is a very useful and necessary member of society. Now when we hear a man addressed as “doctor” we do not know whether he is one of the 57 varieties of the pharmaco-physio-mechano-hydro-balneo-sero-radio therapeutic schools.

This means that the all-around physician, the family mentor and friend, is being displaced by the organ specialist, the diagnostician, the pathologist and the surgeon. The physician is the man with whom we come in closest contact medically, in our every day life, especially when we are sick. It follows that he is, or should be, the man of the richest personality, the broadest education and the best judgment in everything pertaining to the art of healing, and that involves many things besides giving medicine or performing a surgical operation.

The profession of homoeopathy calls for the general practitioner and requires him to know his patient, not only as the whole man, but his associates, environment, his ancestry, personality, influences, mental traits, characteristics and all that goes to make him what he is. G.P. stands for general practitioner, and if he is that kind of a doctor, G.P. also stands for grateful patient; the patient knows and trusts him as physician, adviser, friend.

The psychological effect of this trust assists in the cure; the physician knows this power and uses it in taking the case, especially where there are mental symptoms; for homoeopathy recognizes mental conditions as much as physical. When Hering in his Guiding Symptoms places first the section Mind, and for that section covers from two to four pages of every remedy, emphasis is thereby given to the psychological aspect of the patient.

The Aconite fear and restlessness, the weeping and sadness of Ignatia, Pulsatillas mild melancholy, are classifications in psychology easily read by the homoeopathic physician; they are as clearly defined as the rage-sex-wonder types of modern psychology. The healing action of the remedy is often shown first by a change for the better in the mental attitude. We had a black cook who used to say,, “The pain in my head isnt any better yet; but since you gave me that medicine, I ain;t sick to heart no more”.

A woman we know went to one of our great men. Dr. Fincke, for treatment. She told him at her second call that she did not take the other powders after the first one he gave her because she knew they were Sac. lac. anyway; she was aware of the use of the single dose at times. “Ach,” he exclaimed, “you should have taken those powders! They are a part of the cure. I put something of myself into them”.

Homoeopathy by its almost intangible, infinitesimal remedy, meets the need of mind and body. It is not crude or earthy; it represents the spirit of the cure, which means balance, health. Its principle applied by the indicated remedy reaches the hidden springs of being, helps to make the will stronger, the temper calm, and raises faith into action. Homoeopathy goes deeper and higher than any other method of drug treatment.

It considers the psychic and mental symptoms as arising from the same source as the physical illness,all, as Hahnemann says, from “a misdirection or hindrance of the vital force”. The underlying principle of homoeopathy reaches even beyond the sub-conscious to the super- conscious. Only there can the problems which baffle human beings be solved, the problems for which they seek the aid of the physician or the psychologist happy if these two are one in the practitioner of Hahnemanns philosophy the true homoeopathic physician.

This teaching should begin in the home with the children. They should be taught not to be worried or apprehensive of sickness, but to expect health; they should be taught to bear discomfort and pain with a brave uncomplaining spirit; instructed how to describe feelings and symptoms correctly so that the doctor can diagnose the case and select his remedy; and then leave it to him. They can also be taught the advantageous uses of the Arnica and Calendula preparations for their hurts and bruises.

The ignorance of the general public in regard to homoeopathy is surprising. We ought to be able to answer intelligently and simply when asked “What is it?” The idea is usually limited to the small dosage; but that is not the whole of homoeopathy, that little dose must be the one which will act upon the vital force and start the healing action.

The work of the American Foundation for Homoeopathy is meeting the need for such instruction and enlightenment; and these Leagues, such as yours, and others, will help to spread the understanding of this great system of cure, known as homoeopathy.

BROOKLYN, N.Y.

In reply to the query, “Is homoeopathy sufficient in all cases?” we would briefly say that in our experience homoeopathy strictly practised is capable of giving the fullest peace, comfort, and rest to the incurable patient, whether it be a case of cancer, of tuberculosis, or what not. Secondly, that in all curable diseases, Hahnemannian homoeopathy cures most speedily and effectively.

The method of applying the law of similars is always the same, whether the case be curable or incurable. Many a doctor prescribes carefully and hopefully for a patient suffering from a disease generally considered curable, but when treating a patient who has a disease called incurable, the same doctor will become demoralized, will prescribe carelessly, believing “there is no use trying”.

The question at issue here is not one of dose, of quantity, but a question of law and principle versus haphazard carelessness. On the one side are men who try to relieve and to cure all cases of sickness; on the other, we find men who palliate their cases, giving a present temporary relief with a permanent aggravation later.- EDMUND J. LEE, M.D., and WALTER M. JAMES, M.D., 1889.

Evangeline L. Close