“If thy right eye offend thee pluck it out, and if thy right hand offend thee cut it off and cast it from thee, for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell”.
Two thousand years have passed but the members still offend.
Since the advent of modern anaesthesia and aseptic surgery enucleation of the eye and amputation of the hand and foot have largely given place to radical extirpation of the appendix, the teeth, tonsils, adenoids, thyroid, prostate, gall-bladder, uterus, tubes and ovaries, together with frequent attacks and raids on the nose, sinuses and other suspected offenders. These supposed foci of infection, like the “hide-outs” of the gangsters and high-binders are not easy to spot and even when duly located, attacked and cleaned up, the big fellows generally slip out from under and the “gang” continues its underworld activities to the detriment of either the patient or the community.
The human body is a wondrous mechanism possessing a truly marvelous range of adaptability. It is capable of withstanding ignorant abuse and mismanagement to an almost unbelievable degree, but there is a limit, and time will tell the sad old story – with variations for each and all.
Surgery labors under a tremendous disadvantage in not being able to replace cracked, defective and worn out tissues and organs. Every surgeon should have access to, and every hospital should be equipped with a complete parts department. A good beginning in this direction has been made and we have only the highest praise for the wonderful achievements of plastic surgery and considering the many hazards of daily life we are thankful for the blessings of false teeth, glass eyes and artificial limbs.
Not, however, until new hearts, kidneys, lungs, livers, brains and some other more or less hearts, kidneys, lungs, livers, brains and some other more or less embarassing organs can be installed either by contract or on a time and material basis, will the surgical clinics be raised to the level of automobile service stations. Were it not for the HALO surgeons and surgery would be in a bad way.
Inasmuch as we are considering the subject of surgical suppressions, nothing that follows is to be constructed as applying to orthopaedic or plastic operations, nor to other mechanical conditions which can only find their true similimum through mechanical methods of treatment.
The human form has reached its present development through evolutionary processes slowly but ceaselessly progressing for countless ages and destined no doubt to continue as the cycles run their courses through aeons of time.
There are said to be certain vestigial structures in the human body – remnants of organs that performed definite functions in the past but which are thought to be useless at present. The pineal gland and the appendix are regarded as such vestigial remains. Away with them then if they are nothing more than souvenirs of ancient times. But just a minute! Why is the appendix kidnapped so frequently and the pineal gland almost never abducted? There are plenty of people “off their nut” and it would be easy to blame something on the pineal gland, but it isnt done and the little old relic stays right with us. If the appendix were only as inaccessible as the pineal gland we wouldnt read of so many deaths following operation for appendicitis.
Moreover, if every patient suffering from acute appendicitis were put to bed, given the indicated remedy, no food whatever and plain tepid enemas – in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred it would prove to be nothing worth mentioning – just a little indigestion. To be sure there is such a thing as a ruptured appendix and operation may in such a condition, save a life. It is the writers opinion however, that surgery in appendicitis has caused more deaths than it has ever prevented but even in this there is some compensation (other than financial) – the dead are immune to recurrent attacks.
Patients recovering without operation are possible candidates for either recurrent or chronic appendicitis but these can almost certainly be prevented by the constitutional remedy and intelligent case management. If the appendix has been removed and the patient remain untreated constitutionally this particular type of disease manifestation is henceforth denied expression and when the next attack occurs it will not be appendicitis but perhaps something more insidiously violent.
Like the surgeon I am loath to leave the appendix without calling attention to one more point. In recent years three important functions have been ascribed to this erstwhile vestigial remnant. First, that of regulator, to some extent, or peristalsis; second, that of an abdominal tonsil with a definite detoxicating action; third, that of a gland of internal secretion – possibly linking up the organ with endocrine system.
Foreign bodies and faecal concretions are occasionally though rarely found in the appendix, but there is commonly money in it requiring operation for its removal.
Just a word of caution at this point. Differential diagnosis is highly important in all EXPECTANT surgical conditions. A safe rule is to make sure the alleged organ has not, to the patients knowledge been already removed, then be governed accordingly. Find out first what is missing, then diagnose, advise and operate on what remains. Such careful and logical methods are not only important in the interest of exact science but may save possible embarrassment and help to avoid unnecessary delay in getting the patient to the operating table.
Having removed the appendix let us now examine the tonsils. Yes, they are badly shot. What could the family doctor have been thinking of that he did not advise their removal long ago! They have been poisoning the entire system for years – possibly even causing that attack of appendicitis. To get rid of the anaemia and all the other troubles we simply must clean up these foci of infection.
To make the long story short, the patient underwent the operation and made an uneventful recovery.
He consulted us again the following Spring. It was the first winter he had been free from sore throat and tonsillitis for years although he had been troubled off and on with a mean bronchial cough and had been laid up a couple of weeks with influenza. Following the influenzal attack a purulent rhinitis supervened and persisted despite the use of sprays and medicines prescribed by the local doctor. He began to experience dull frontal and supra-orbital headaches. At night he suffered from obstinate nasal obstruction at times compelling mouth breathing. His days were made miserable and embarassing by the thick, purulent coryza filling handkerchief after handkerchief.
Examination revealed a deflected nasal septum and a severe sub- acute hypertrophic rhinitis. The x-ray showed marked infection of the right maxillary sinus with beginning involvement of the ethmoid, and the sphenoidal and right frontal sinuses. Immediate operation was advised. Grateful relief was experienced following drainage of the right maxillary sinus, septum resection and removal of the inferior turbinates.
The next time we saw him he had had all his teeth extracted. For years there had been some evidence of pyorrhoea. Soon after his last operation the trouble had become very acute and had spread rapidly, involving practically all the teeth on both the upper and lower jaw. Complete x-ray studies of the mouth decided the dentist to advise removal of all the remaining teeth. Although the extraction was not all undertaken at one time, quite a severe reaction was, nevertheless, experienced by the patient. However, he finally cleared up and was very satisfactorily fitted with complete upper and lower dentures.
But to return to his new complaint – sure enough it was a rapidly advancing case of polyarthritis. Our patient said, “doctor, I dont suppose you treat this kind of trouble but I thought I would see what youd have to say” – but why continue – we all know the sad, sad story almost by heart.
Each surgical suppression is followed sooner or later, by a new manifestation of the internal disorder – the same disease in another role, bearing a new name and attacking a different part of the organism to the ever increasing detriment of the patient.
And a certain woman which had an issue of blood twelve years and had suffered many things of many physicians and had spent all that she had and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, when she heard of Jesus came in the press behind and touched His garment and straightaway the fountain of her blood was dried up and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
In its highest expression the true similimum is capable of working a miracle of cure. When homoeopathy is completely unfolded and correlated, when the physician becomes in fact both scientist and artist, then will those sublime acts of healing of two millenniums ago be rendered more fully comprehensible.
We are the followers of Hahnemann, working in the light of his wisdom. Let us take up the torch of homoeopathy that the light may shed its radiance everywhere, bringing new hope and new miracles of healing, restoring the sick to the fullness of life and to WHOLENESS of mind and body.
CHAIRMAN PULFORD: This paper seems to confirm the old saying to the effect that many a true word is spoken in jest. Is there any discussion of Dr. Underhills very fine paper?.
DR. ALFRED PULFORD: I think if my good friend Charlie Vicks were here, he would say that was a right good paper.
It illustrates and verifies what I stated some time ago, that surgery cures nothing, it merely eliminates the parts and diverts the disease into other and more serious channels. It was ignorance of medicine that bred the present supremacy of surgery.
DR. H.A. ROBERTS: Dr. Underhill has touched in a very graphic way a very essential thing, suppression. It is the one thing that the Hahnemannian homoeopath has to contend with all the while on cases that come to him from the other school and from physicians who ought to know better because they have been somewhat trained in homoeopathy.
This last winter we have had a clinic in New Haven in connection with the class that we have had studying Hahnemannian Homoeopathy, and we had a case come in that just illustrates the real fact as Dr. Underhill has brought it out.
This woman was thirty-two years of age. When she was seventeen she had scarlet fever and she was sick six months, under the old school treatment. She recovered sufficiently and then, about six months afterwards, developed a case of inflammatory rheumatism. She was relieved of that after three or four months, as she expressed it, and was able to get about.
At twenty she married and come to this country. She had two children and after the last child was born, she had an attack of multiple arthritis that was very severe. The doctor investigated her teeth and they were extracted. The rheumatism wasnt relieved and he extracted the tonsils as a focal infection. Then she began to have pus around the cervix and he did a repair work at the cervix and curetted the uterus. Then she had a condition of distress in the kidney and the pus was coming out from kidney. He found the ureter was convoluted, by x-ray, and he suspended the kidney thinking that he would get better drainage. that didnt work because next she had an attack of fallopian tube trouble and a whole hysterectomy was performed.
The patient got better after some of these attacks, considerably better for a while, and then would sink right back into the same old arthritic condition.
This doctor was taking this course of work under homoeopathy and he brought this woman in to see what we could do for her. She couldnt get up alone out of bed. She couldnt turn over alone in bed. She couldnt walk without help.
It was a case of suppression and I asked the man what he was going to operate on next. He said, “I dont know”.
I said, “You are not going to operate at all”.
He said, “Where is the mistake?”.
I said, “The mistake was made back in the fact that she wasnt cured of her scarlet fever, and you have been chasing focal infection ever since”.
We got that woman so she could walk and turn over in bed herself, so she could get up and walk around and assist some in her work, and she went back to England and that is the last I heard of her. I sent her to Dr. Julian, at Liverpool, and he is taking care of her now.
That bears out this one fact: You can have surgical suppression as well as suppression of things from other causes, and the basis of nine-tenths of our troubles in acute diseases of that kind is suppression of one thing, chasing it in, making it go to a more important organ every time. Every time you eliminate one thing without curing, you go back to a deeper-seated proposition.
DR. CHARLES A DIXON: I cant keep still after hearing Dr. Underhills paper. I want to thank him for it and there is one angle of it to which I want to add an appendix (we have been talking appendix) and that is how to combat this wholesale conviction on the part of people that surgery cures.
We know that surgery doesnt cure because it deals with effects and doesnt go back to cause. That is the crux of the whole thing and that is what we have to combat among people who think that surgery cures. They think that no matter what the trouble is surgery will cure it. We must fight this conviction and we have got to put out seeds that will grow and show that lopping off does nothing for cure or removing the cause. I do it every day in my humble way.
Of course, I have my methods and you have your methods and I think we ought to talk over that because we have to fight that fight.
This is the way I do it: I say that removing effects cant go back to causes. If we use our philosophy to cure a patient, the cause has to be gone into. I can quarrel about a statement that was made here in this room yesterday by one of our essayists. He said, “Go back to causes.” He was talking about focal infection. You have got to be sure that you are right in your philosophy and that you have the right cause. I dont believe that focal infection in a tonsil or a tooth is going back to causes. They are effects.
If a tooth goes bad, there has to be a reason for it. If a tonsil goes bad, there has to be a reason for it, and here is another little thing: Did you ever start a hedge around the front of your lawn? You start out with three or four bushes. As soon as they get a little irregular, you trim them off, and what happens? A half-dozen sprouts come up every time. The first thing you know, you have a mass of it, and that is what this surgery is. Every time you lop off one of the dead teeth or dead tonsils something comes to take its place. It is not going back of it.
DR. M.I. BOGER-SHATTUCK: That is not always true. I will defend the surgeon a little bit.
I had a patient, who was raised under Dr. Kent in Chicago, treated homoeopathically all her life. She came to me. I doctored her for a period of two or three years as conscientiously as I could prescribe for anyone. At the end of that time she developed a jaundice. We had her x-rayed and we couldnt see anything. We called in a surgeon and removed a hydrops gallbladder with a large stone in the common duct, as big as a pint milk bottle. The woman has been perfectly well ever since. I dont say that anything was healed by surgery except the end result of her original trouble. She would have died had she not been operated on, and she is well today.
I do think there is too much unnecessary surgery done but, on the other hand, I know many good homoeopaths who are slipping on little points such as this. They will not see, and they absolutely do close their eyes to a surgical condition which requires a surgeon, and anybody who can remove with a homoeopathic remedy a gall-stone as big as a pigeons egg from a common duct of the gall-bladder and a hydrops gall-bladder behind it, I would like to see. I have never seen it done.
DR. A.H. GRIMMER: I should like to make one remark about the doctors paper and also about what Dr. Dixon said. There is altogether too much surgery. I think no intelligent homoeopath denies that end results may get so far before he sees a case that it is surgical. Those cases we will let go by, but I should like to see Dr. Underhills paper struck off to be distributed through the country. I think that would be a very effective thing to do. This paper has the advantage that it would appeal to the great multitude. The weapon of ridicule many times strikes home to the common mass where reason and logic fail to register.
Never having belonged to the exclusive high dilutionists, nor much less to the exclusive low ones, and having met with more beginners, as well as older practitioners, than any other physician in our ranks, I have had the opportunity to get acquainted with their powers of observation.
Among all of the exclusive high dilutionists I did not find a single one that was other than a close observer. Among the exclusive low ones, the majority being such who shunned the “too much trouble” system, yet, when they had learned to observe, they were willing, at least in some cases, to make use of the higher potencies. – C. HERING.
Has chemistry ever been able to say why Aconite will destroy life and a cup of ginger will do no harm? Is there anything in chemico-physics that will tell you why Arsenic will destroy life, while a teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda will do no harm? The dynamis of Arsenic has its own identity, produces its own force, and conforms to its own laws and to no others. All substances that have individuality, that have an independence, has each its dynamis, and by this dynamis it is known, identified and reproduces itself, and this is all there is of that given thing that is distinctive. – JAMES TYLER KENT, M.D., 1889.