No matter what our life calls, no matter what our relationship to the profession of medicine, good health is the concern of you and me. Good health is the concern of our community. To make a case in medicine, at least two are necessary, one who is in need of treatment, and one who can supply the treatment. To make the conditions, to order the environment, in which good health may thrive, in which the practice of medicine may reach its highest success, requires more than two.
That is a community affair. Whether it is the public acting through an organized commonwealth, or whether it is the individual seeking the cure for his own ailment, the procedure is in the main the same. In both instances, the untrained seek out and then endeavor to use the best trained technical service that can be found, and success depends not on the excellence of the professional service only, but on the intelligence and spirit with which it is used. Success depends on good understanding and team-play between doctors and laymen.
When one of us falls ill and summons to our bedside the physician of our choice, we little question that we shall get back to health in the shortest time if we have full confidence in our doctor. We little question that we can help him and thus ourself, if we have some idea what he is aiming to do. It is not enough that we know him merely as a successful man whose directions, we shall follow blindly. Many successful doctors, with wide following and large income, do harm by their treatment rather than good, not intentionally of course, but by working from the wrong or the incomplete principles.
It is not enough that we know what school of medicine our doctor represents. He may be quite in earnest himself but he may nevertheless suppose he is in one school whereas he is actually more in harmony with another. Or he may be quite in earnest himself in allowing himself some freedom of choice between methods of dealing with our case while the case is still in progress. Nor is it enough to surrender ourself passively. The physician, if he is in comprehensive practice, wants the things that we can volunteer, wants our report as we see and feel, wants in short to appraise our individuality and select his remedy in that light. In bedside practice there is such a thing as the efficient patient. He understands and appreciates the objectives and the methods of his doctor, though he knows nothing about the technique. It is a fine case for team-play.
In the longer and more common circumstance, when we are well and engaged in the attempt to avoid sickness, when we train ourself as best we may for health, if we are intelligent and thoughtful we report from time to time. We need to know the kind of things to report and when to report them. We improve our chances in proportion as we succeed in keeping our doctor posted, so he can see our tendencies, so he can know our constitutional character, so he can use the deeper preventive measures and keep us in the fuller possession of all our powers.
Now, it is not generally known, but it is true nevertheless, that homoeopathy is the best, and perhaps the only true, preventive medicine. Ordinary preventive medicine consists merely in periodic examinations, made quite objectively, and the use of specific preventives for specific possible dangers. Ordinary preventive medicine has nothing to do with constitutional up building. On the contrary, homoeopathy looks at all facts in their relation to constitutional trends, and develops the most comprehensive view not only of acute and chronic diseases separately, but of chronic tendencies. Homoeopathy is alone in that field. Any practice that can lift and cure chronic morbid tendencies in advance of infection, or before the epidemic strikes, lays the base on which public health is to be built.
To the degree, then, that we can succeed in binding together the layman and the doctor, at the bedside, in the usual course of life, and in the community, just so far can we advance good health, individually and collectively. To the extent that we can bring to bear on the problem of good health the amazingly rich resources of homoeopathy, just so far may homoeopathy commend itself to the thinking public.
Well informed young persons, as they contemplate medicine as a life work, may then of their own free will consider homoeopathy seriously before making a final choice. Nothing else holds the assurance of speeding the growth of homoeopathy nearly so much as this cementation of laity and profession by a bond of enlightenment and common purpose. And homoeopathy has room for growth in public favor. Homoeopathy has room for growth in broadening research, in development of new remedies, in widening fields of service.
Here, for example, is William L. Chenery, writing editorially in Colliers for May 21st. He says:.
“We remember Koch now as the man who isolated the germ of tuberculosis. This was just one of his great accomplishments. Out of his laboratories, established in Berlin after he had shown his power, came the discoveries of the causes of cholera, typhoid fever, diphtheria, erysipelas tetanus, pneumonia, and other diseases”.
Editor Chenery is leading our people astray. Little does he know what homoeopathy was doing for every disease in his list long before the day of Robert Koch and laboratory medicine. Little does he know about the bearing of germ causation upon the diseases he mentions, nor could he have heard that many of these very diseases are to be seen, treated, and disposed of, to the enormous benefit of the patient and the community, before there is a hostile micro-organism to be found. Why does such a leader of public thought go uninformed? That is our fault.
Or again, during the week of May 16th the American Medical Association met and elected a new President. Their publicist is Dr. Morris Fishbein, editor of the Journal, professional magazine, and Hygeia, for the laity, and lecturer. Dr. Fishbein made his forecast, and we might note in reviewing it, what need he leaves for homoeopathy with its direct attack, its simplicity, its grasp of constitutional prescribing, in his picture of the medicine of the future. He said:.
“Good medical care differs greatly from the best medical care. In view of the advance of modern medical science, it is questionable whether or not the best medical care can ever be furnished to all the people at a price they can afford to pay. It would seem rather that we must work toward the period when all of mankind in this country will receive the best medical care that they can be furnished for what they can afford to pay”.
Could a sorrier outlook be imagined? Or a more commercially sordid one? The advances in the modern science of medicine seem to be reducing our chances of achieving good health, instead of improving them. It sounds like the talk of a tired and discouraged brain, and it, too, is leading our people astray. Not only astray, but astray on apparently the highest authority.
But Dr. Fishbein sank still deeper into the gloom. About the only way, he thought, to get adequate medical care for everybody is through health insurance, for that would insure adequate pay for the physicians, the thing which he seems to cherish especially. His medicine cannot sustain itself apparently except through drafts upon some form of public treasury. Then he went on:.
“People know that death is inevitable. In teaching preventive medicine, we have emphasized that sickness may be prevented. Today we know that some sickness for every family is just as inevitable as death, and unless obstetrics continue to be inevitable there will be no population for the future. Let us, therefore, teach the worker that 2,000,000 people are sick every day in 120,000,000 population, and that this number is not likely to change greatly in the future”.
When the worker learns that lesson, how enlightened he will be!.
Wrong as all this is, there is a lot of it. The layman hears practically nothing else. It is well presented, earnest, persistent, plausible. Its authors may be doubted for their preparation, but they cannot be doubted for their sincerity. To compare with all this, homoeopathy offers hardly a word, in spite of the important fact that homoeopathy has infinitely more to say. Our literature has seldom been equal to our subject in style, dignity, presentation, or appeal. It has not satisfied our own physicians, one of whom recently wrote:.
“To me, this is one of our weakest links. We not only need, but must have, homoeopathic literature of a higher grade to interpret our art in an appealing, intelligent, concise, and convincing manner to the intelligent mind”.
The bond between homoeopathy and its public can be strengthened, too, by bodies of layman meeting for discussion and enjoyment, forming centers of interest and culture. Physicians can find such clubs of great help in making solid the spirit of homoeopathy, in giving courage to those who might investigate homoeopathy but hesitate, in helping a good candidate now and then to obtain his training in homoeopathy, in giving weight on the side of medical freedom when homoeopathy is threatened with oppression or ridicule.
There has already been excellent work done in both these lines. The movement shows no lack of talent, no lack of willingness, and some of the best writing in all medicine has come down to us from the masters of other years. What is lacking is integration. For efforts along single lines seldom stand by their own strength. If homoeopathy is to be well presented to thinking people, there must be not only these organs of speech and writing, but a source from which they spring, a central library containing all the authorities, the facts, the reports of proceedings, the statistics, under the care of one who loves the work. And pouring into that reservoir a stream of new facts, new bond with related sciences, broadening fields for homoeopathy, coming from research.
The movement must be alive, and so manifest itself to the modern world. Into such a movement as that, aspiring young people may be invited with pride, and urged to consecrate their lives as the homoeopathic physicians of the future. They can feel that they are joining a moving cause, a science of profound importance, to keep abreast of which they will need to keep themselves awake throughout their years. They can feel that they can step into practice without wasting half their strength trying to be understood.
In homoeopathy, as we have heard it expounded, the whole is greater than any of its parts. If homoeopathy is then organized in fidelity to its own principle, these four parts go together, for there is no whole without all its parts. In spite of the excellent work that has already been done in the way of teaching homoeopathy, proving new remedies, putting statistical records in shape, writing books, still the main problem is unsolved, the main need unfulfilled. The work has been spotty, detached. What it needs now is articulation. Any one of these four departments taken alone will dwindle and face away again, just as in the past. No more can the movement be made out of a medical course alone, let us say, than a man can be made out of a right arm. The movement consists in linking together the profession and its laity, but even more in pressing forward in all four departments equally, so they may sustain each other and produce a vital integrated whole:.
1. Training for physicians, post-graduate.
2. Research in homoeopathy, and demonstration of its laws.
3. Library of authorities, reports, accumulated data.
4. Presentation of homoeopathy to its public.
That is the American Foundation for Homoeopathy in principle, and its principle and plan have use for your earnest consideration, your support, your devotion, to the end that the movement may realize that value and progress which the people so greatly need.
Let me now, for the present, ask you to cease looking through your microscope for the evidence of the remedial power of drugs and for the cause of disease, for there is nothing material about either they are both imponderable powers; you doubt this I know, but do not say you will not believe before you have done what is only reasonable that is, to investigate honesty and prove it to your satisfaction. In doing this you must conform to the law of cure, as it is exacting, and will tolerate no deviations; and I would here remind you that this law does not require a high dynamization, but absolutely the similimum of selection to the case, and this cannot be done by multiple prescription.
As to the efficacy of the higher powers, this knowledge is obtained only when a thorough realization of the law is acquired; they are preferred by those only who, by long practice, have conformed to the law of cure.- J.A. BIEGLER, M.D., 1888.