It has always been my idea that we “take the case” in order to enable us to arrive at two factors: A diagnosis, if possible, but more especially to arrive at the accurately indicated drug.
In looking over the second quarter of the Recorder for 1935, I find, p. 77, reprinted, an extract from Hahnemann, dated 1834, as follows:.
How can those gentlemen boast that they can attend 30 to 40 patients a day! What time it takes to find the useful remedy for one patient, when searching and consulting our manuals! They cannot possibly devote the necessary time to examine 30 to 40 patients. How they be able to find something exactly suitable to each one? Or have those gentlemen so memorized the materia medica and all the remedies in chronic diseases, etc., so well, that after enquiring into the circumstances of the patient, for which they frequently need one-half to three-quarters of an hour, they may be able to find at once a suitable remedy in their mind?.
I grant that in Hahnemanns day there was incontroversial reasons for his stand and remarks as above. But things have not stood still since then. He had to blaze the trail. That trail is more or less charted for us. Some of us are fast learning just what symptoms positively indicate the drug. Too, he had no repertory [ Hahnemann himself complied a brief repertory, in Latin, as an index to his ever-growing materia medica; but he later discarded it almost entirely to use Boenninghausens repertories, to one of which Hahnemann wrote a preface. ED] to go to in order to refresh his memory.
What we can readily turn to now, he had to keep stored up in his mind, or spend hours and days, even weeks, to find. All that consumes endless time. However, he had one advantage over his followers: his knowledge was first-hand, therefore burned deeply into his brain. But there were other things to be discovered besides the law of similars, the greatest of which is: just what constitutes the exact symptom totality, as related to the drug? Every drug has but a limited pathogenesis produced directly by the drug itself, and indicates it in preference to all other drugs.
If Hahnemann realized that it is strange that he did not mention the fact, since next to the law of similars itself, it is the most important factor in homoeopathy. That fact is the most important thing the case taker must know, if he or she expects to be successful. Dr. Harvey Farrington once remarked: “It is remarkable how that group runs down to the sevens”.
It is remarkable how much more simple and easy it is to rapidly “take a case” if one masters the keynote of the drug that distinguishes if from all others, together with its essential satellites. The mere asking of endless useless questions and writing page after page of symptoms is not necessary “case taking” and all too often leads one astray. And the repertory is the last thing on earth that would help out in such a process. The repertory, alone, would lead us to fully 90 percent of mild suppressions, rather than cures:.
It may be true that no physician could “take” 30 to 40 new cases per day, but who amongst us ever gets 30 to 40 new cases per day? During boom times I attended from 50 to 60 patients per day, but they were by no means new patients. If our work is done properly with the new patients as they do come, it should not take one but five minutes to prescribe a placebo on the second visit. And the time saved on that case can be applied on the new case.
In order to “take” a new case, and do it rapidly and successfully, one must be intimately conversant with the materia medica, and enabled to gain access to the distinguishing features of the drug and its little coterie of satellites; an expert cross-examiner; an expert analyst and an expert observer.