WHY I EMBRACED THE DOCTRINES OF SAMUEL HAHNEMANN


As a thesis on the subject of homoeopathy, I know of nothing more to the point than a recital of those experiences that led me, as a recent graduate of the allopathic school of medicine, to a wholehearted adoption of the philosophy and practice of the newer school-homoeopathy.


As a thesis on the subject of homoeopathy, I know of nothing more to the point than a recital of those experiences that led me, as a recent graduate of the allopathic school of medicine, to a wholehearted adoption of the philosophy and practice of the newer school-homoeopathy.

During my resident study at the University of New York, 1888-91, I had heard much of the foolish inutility of homoeopathy, of course, and when I graduated our very large class was told that now we were educated in all the latest lore of medical sciences; but my habit of reading many, instead of a few prescribed authors, compelled me to remember that so many divergent opinions were in evidence among these supposed authorities on almost every phase of study except anatomy, that this assurance of a completed education was not wholly convincing.

With my diploma in medicine, my state examinations completed, my registration for practice in both New York and Pennsylvania secure, I took three months at home before selecting that particular locality that was to be blessed with my medical and surgical skill.

While at home I discovered that my former preceptor practicing there was an evident apostate from his orthodox training, as his practice was very plainly of homoeopathic complexion, much to my disgust. We quarrelled over this apostacy and I was quite inclined to look with suspicion on his state of mental composity.

His story of why he, a graduate of the same school as I, had descended to such unorthodox practice, is worth repeating.

He also had been told in New York that his education was of the very elect, and that he was now equipped to handle any emergency in truly scientific manner. He soon discovered this to be a rank overstatement, for his first experience in practice brought him into contact with a very fatal type of epidemic diphtheria, before the days of Pasteur and diphtheria antitoxin. He lost most of his cases and was about to abandon his field when he remembered a despised homoeopath, and a woman at that, who was laboring in an adjoining field, and, so far as he was able to discover, losing no cases.

Being first a physician and secondarily a scientist he resolved to forget his pride of education and go to her to find out what she was doing that he was not, or what she was not doing that he did.

He found her an enthusiast, willing to talk of her science, as is any true followers of Hahnemann, and she told him that this particular epidemic was falling into two classes, as regards indications for prescribing, the one Lachesis and the other Mercurius cyanatus, all of which was pure Greek to him. She explained the indications for each remedy and gave him a quantity of each, which he took without much enthusiasm, but applied according to the indications she had given him.

He then lost no more cases, and gladly undertook a study of homoeopathy by means of her library and grafts from her remedies.

Both the studies and their results so impressed him that from this accidental beginning he became one of the best prescribers it has ever been my good fortune to know.

This story was all like a fairy tale to me and while something not easily to be explained, nor, from my knowledge of the narrator, to be doubted, yet the stronghold built up by my professors was not to capitulate so easily.

I was reluctant to believe that any material fact in therapeutics had wholly escaped my learned professors in medicine, and, also, I had heard this unorthodox and foolish school that believed in infinitesimals too severely criticized and denounced and ridiculed to accept its teachings as anything but a passing fancy, even on the statement of my respected and much loved preceptor; and so a sort of armed truce developed between us on the whole subject, though I did condescend to ride him during my vacation, to make the diagnoses, also the prognoses, he to do the prescribing.

My cherished prognoses, made with the utmost finality, were daily shown to be far too pessimistic, for cases of influenza, even pneumonia of apparently serious type, were often up in a few days and soon again at work, apparently no worse for their recent illnesses.

In New York we had recently been through the very fatal epidemic of 1890-91, where the prognosis was generally bad under what I what I believed to be the very latest application of the ultimate of science, and these unaccountable recoveries were not easily explained.

Day after day I was compelled to feel that there must be something that had accidentally been left out of my very scientific training, but to admit that this something was the principle of Similia Similibus Curantur was not for a moment considered.

W H Hay