CHAPTER XII, Continued.
The practice of medicine is an art. This art makes use of science. The art is not commercial and it becomes a business only when degraded. However, the laborer is worthy of his hire and there is no doubt that the practice of worthy medicine will bring to all its devotees amply material remuneration just as it brings to patients adequate reward.
No school of practice looks upon medicine as an art more than does the homoeopathic. The sick are not cured by science, by so-called faith, by mind, by any method or agent whatever; unless the administration of that method of agent is accomplished by art. If man were merely an animated body, a machine energized by some external power, the converse might be true; but he is more than mechanical, than animal, than tissue, or even a combination of these. Any healing of this complex and wonderful organism must reckon with it in its entirety, and not only with its species in general, but with any and every individual specimen of it.
Homoeopathy differs in no smallest degree today from what it was on the day of Hahnemanns death. I make no account of unhomoeopathic practices existing among those not yet fully imbued with the homoeopathic understanding, though externally adherent to the cause. I speak of homoeopathy–the science –and reiterate that it is unchanged either in precept or practice, and that the rules elaborated in the Organon are the rules of usage today.–FRANK W. PATCH, M.D.
While homoeopathy is being slowly rediscovered the world continues to revel in crude medicine. Much of this medicine is unfit for the human being. Much of it is, however, looked upon by the mass of mankind as the only help available in sickness. Widespread propaganda from many different sources leaves little room and opportunity for better aid. But there is better provided. It is just as available, necessary, and effective today as it was over a century ago, when Samuel Hahnemann built homoeopathy on an enduring foundation.
That foundation has never crumbled.
In truth the edifice has been assaulted by enemies, neglected by sponsors, and transduced by friends, but as a complete structure its preservation is assured by virtue of inherent soundness. Yet, like all good things, the practical utility, the unique values, and the unapproached superiority of the Law of Similars in medical care, have been and will continue to be ignored when and wherever other aims are more active than that of absolute cure.
For instance, a doctor of another school was distressed over the conditions of his sick child, thus far unhelped by allopathic skill. He called in a friend who was also a physician, but of the homoeopathic school for medicine. The latters prescription gave immediate relief and prompt recovery. The father was appreciative, but when asked why he did not study and learn to do likewise, he replied that under such a system the visits required were so few he did not see how a doctor could make a living!.
Unfortunately, however, the visits cannot always be so few. This for the reason that our modern states of illness are aggravated by our modern habits of live, so far removed from the conservative routine that obtained in similar circles years ago. That is, the stress of super-activities and pleasures and consequent over-indulgences, frequently met by what are considered restorative in the way of nostrums, all implies and actually results in addictions that render the constitution persistently abnormal. From such a state, either cure or recovery is often a matter of time and skill, even when the right course is pursued if pursued at all.
The foundation of homoeopathy are facts. They support the truth that in the healing of the sick that law must be respected and followed which says Likes are to be treated by likes. And so the need is established for a clear comprehension of the evidences of vital disorder. Just what vital disorder is we may not know. It is not yet permitted us to know. We have never seen the vital spark since it began to illumine the temple that God made and pronounced done in His own image.
It is borne in upon the consciousness that we are not allowed to enter at will the chambers of the living temple. There are paths we may not tread nor follow, closed doors that we may not open, but it is given men to perceive and ponder all the evidences of physiological and pathological phenomena that spring from or have their origin in the vital organism.
It is on faithful observation of these evidences that utilization of the law of cure must rest. The demand that this observation be exact, unimpeded, unadorned, is imperative.
Study of life and health, of disease and its cure, is full of interest, wonderfully absorbing interest, interest that constitutes almost the paramount motive of the medical mans career. This study introduces him constantly to new phase of mankinds physical and moral nature. Ultimately these phases become well understood. Moreover, many a patient reveals by his mere presence his essential personality to a clear-minded and experienced physician. A strong statement, but it is a true one for many cases. And no good physician fails to regard temperament as well as the purely physical states.
Knowledge of a single fact not known as related to any other fact, or of many facts not comprehended under any general law, does not reach the meaning of science. Science is knowledge reduced to law and embodied in system. –E. H. VAN DEUSEN, M.D.
Homoeopathy is idealistic and pragmatic. It is pragmatic because it works every time that it is properly applied, and it is idealistic because it provides the correct result, the result that is safest, most desired, and best. A difficulty lies with the incompetent exponents of a law and a system that is as perfect as anything can be made for the use of human beings who are anything but alike in their ability and productiveness. In the nature of things– of everything with which we are acquainted or have any practical working knowledge, its utility must be decided by the success made of it in different hands.
Yet, could anything be less true than such a proposition? The merit of a thing lies in its character and not in what employment is made of that thing or its character. Homoeopathy is not entitled of the main subject. A tyro in anything cannot be an exponent of its valuable truth or utility. The two objects are quite distinct, and they properly have no relation to each other just so far as they fail to coordinate. In view of this state of things, the fault often found with homoeopathy belongs elsewhere. It belongs to the person who failed to demonstrate homoeopathy and should be so designated.
Furthermore, it may not be homoeopathy in any particular, as it is often the case that something quite unlike it is denominated homoeopathy, which of course is about the worst thing that could happen to all concerned. Therapy of homoeopathy cannot be estimated in terms of diseases or even remedies. It must be done in terms of patients.
The science of homoeopathy is in the vanguard of present scientific knowledge.–LAWRENCE M. STANTON, M.D.
It is a pity that science should ever be misunderstood or misapprehended, since it is truth, nothing more or less. And what is not true is not science.
All truth is demonstrable (?). Science is demonstrable. If it is not capable of demonstration under the right circumstances and conditions it is not science.
In relation to medicine in particular, science is demonstrable truth. What does not lend itself to medical demonstration is not medical science. Of course there are grades of value in the demonstrations of science in medicine, since the utility of one demonstration may be advantageous while that of another may be questionable as to its worth. Therefore, science being actual fact may be worth while or not worth while.
The point is, particularly in medicine, whether the fact elucidated benefits. This may be determined, but only by artistry. The scientist must be able to determine what is applicable and what is to be rejected in a given set of circumstances. They alter cases immeasurably and so invite not only scientific reasoning but also the relevancy of a particular principle under consideration. Relevancy implies a special suitability to the subject of treatment–the patient. This is too often lost sight of, hence the limitations of science as requisitioned. In such event science is futile.
The departure from Hahnemanns teachings have rapidly multiplied.–ADOLPH LIPPE, M.D.
The utility, stability, and consequent rewards of Materia Medica Pura instil an optimism that justifies itself with every homoeopathic prescription. That prescription has maintained its unique place in practical medicine for over a century. Unlike many other things, it is susceptible both to conservation and to progress.
The prescription accomplishes its mission so well as a foregone conclusion that the capable prescriber anticipates and accepts the results which more than often are wonderful, and he accepts these results as merely commonplace items of the days work. They are noted and then forgotten. Which is a pity! They should be made a part of routine record, with their unique phases stressed. Not one single item is commonplace; every verification is important, and faithful preservation for future reference cannot fail to inspire and aid the early career of the homoeopathist.
Of course, it is true that Hahnemann did not care to publish his cures. Many reasons for this attitude come at once to mind, chief of which is, perhaps the danger he apprehended of early followers of his teachings being throws back to the diagnostic concept as opposed to the patient. That handicap should not exist today with our complete understanding that homoeopathy identifies the disease along with its particular manifestation in the individual patient, and as Hahnemann himself would term it, the patients species of pneumonia, or enteritis, or other complaint.
What is to answer for the world-wide mortality from pneumonia when treated by irregular methods? There is so much publicity given to other disease figures of much less importance, that we do not half realize this scourge of mismanagement, with its fatal results, contrary to the spirit and efficacy of homoeopathic treatment, responsible, as it is, for very few deaths. While we can make this statement that very few patients die under the homoeopathic treatment of patients suffering from pneumonia, often of the most serious type, one of the latest references from other sources reads:.
THE TREATMENT OF PNEUMONIA. Perhaps at the present time no acute disease is so universally prevalent as pneumonia. Pneumonia is both a complication and an aftermath of influenza, and in the words which Osler applied to tuberculosis is “The Captain of the Soldiers of Death”.
Yet in the philosophy that accompanies this attitude there is no voluntary knowledge and acceptance of the homoeopathic Bryonia, Aconite, Kali carb., Lycopodium, or of any of the scores of other remedies, any one of which may be equally and curatively appropriate, according to the features of the individual case.
The official report on pneumonia in the city of New York for February, March, April, 1926: Recorded cases, 10,821, recorded deaths, 5,213–or a mortality of nearly 50 per cent (.4817).
Influenza, same period: 4,413 cases, 782 deaths. It should be seen that without doubt some if not many of these influenza cases may have developed fatal pneumonia, and their mortality does not appear, at least influenza mortality.
This brings us to a consideration of the corner-stone of our structure. It is the knowledge of what drugs do. They are brutal destroyers when improperly harnessed. Their capacity for evil is boundless. It was this fact that led Hahnemann to his prime investigation, and through that experience we derive our rich legacy. There is no clearer lesson taught than that of the sick- making power of medical agents. This they easily accomplish in the healthy organism, and no adequate estimate can be made of their devastation when administered inappropriately to the unhealthy organism.
It is painful to think of how far this latter system has progressed. So extensive are its ramifications that to the homoeopathist come all grades of disorders wholly or partially originated by the assaults of so-called specifics which, as applied to disease per se, do not exist. This oblique trend, if any, toward homoeopathy offers little cheer. Its recent manifestation in current journalism is the assertion (along with admissions as to blemishes and disasters) that instead of one serum for a single disease, necessitating many serums for all the diseases to which we are prone, it is probable that the near future will provide from one of the laboratory experts in bacteriology one single serum that will confer immunity from all diseases.
Which reminds of the insulin theory and history, both as recorded as a still being evolved. Insulin is found not to be a cure of specific for diabetes at all, but only an agent sometimes useful, and there is the discovery that insulin is a great medicine for other maladies. The application still lacks practical and safe definition. This is not half the story. We shall yet learn those other effects producible with insulin when it is not appropriate for the correction of that for which it is selected. Incidentally, it may be noted that the sponsors for specifics are wisely advising great caution in their use.
Hahnemann insists on the necessity of careful diagnosis, not only as a help in selecting the remedy, but for prognosis–FRANK W. PATCH, M.D.
The striking importance to homoeopathy of diagnostic symptomatology is not to be depreciated. Detection of the nature and the pathological manifestations of illness–the diagnosis of disease–is inevitable routine in successful practice of medicine. Whatever serves to outline the status praesens which the physician has to meet, he will investigate. In a very large sense recognition of the location of implied disorder is indispensable as holding his attention to the definite task thrust upon him. Diagnostic symptomatology is always available.
Prescription symptomatology grows out of the same pathological field. It is intimate in origin with all the diagnostic detail, so that it would be useless to try to establish any barrier whatever between the two classifications. It is true that sometimes a sharp line of demarcation has been drawn, due doubtless to the distinction made in comparative practical values, but this line is often more imaginary than real. We certainly have no quarrel with its possible reality, however, provided both classification exist. While the function of each may be studied separately, it is remembered that the origin of both is the same sickness and the same patient.
While the prescription is not made on the diagnosis, neither is it properly made without a diagnosis. No one who understands homoeopathy is bewildered by diagnosis requirements, for the simple reason that those requirements are uncovered by the finer examination of the features of the case–the very highest grade of diagnosis– and examination concerned with the most delicate departures of the whole organism from its normal.
Popular diagnosis often deals with a small section of the patient. It may isolate and even remove that section, and yet become no wiser than before. Consequently, much antemortem designation and conclusion is disproved postmortem. The tendency to lay most of the blame of some specified malady to one or two organs does not secure proper endorsement. In the case of an interstitial nephritis it has not always been safe to declare it the cause of death; too often the autopsy discloses a fairly competent kidney, while nearly every other viscus is advanced in diseases peculiar to itself. In fact, the statistics of diagnosis and pathological findings nowadays in the ranks of their specialists evidence that in some way the great point of the curative effort is missed.
We take it that this would not be the case if prescription symptomatology were better accomplished. The latter often calls for a remedy whose proving discloses a veritable diagnosis in the given case.
In homoeopathys Law of Cure may be found an arcana of healing; and they who wear her shining armor. radiate hope and bring strength to the despairing and the afflicted–A.H. GRIMMER, M.D.
The homoeopathic physician is a specialist because his prescription is governed by considerations remote from those which depend upon the diagnosis, or upon popular reasoning on pathology. The materia medica does not owe its existence to diagnostic art. That is secondary to the information gained through drug proving. No drug is a specific for all cases of any disease. Because Hamamelis cures one case of hay fever, it does not follow that it will cure by fever in every case. There is no specific in this sense.
Every remedy has its own personality, if we permit such application of the word to drug entity, and that personality of the drug must be in harmony with the sick individual, irrespective of the names of disease.
So in the scheme of case-taking, diagnosis as such has merely its relative place among objective symptoms. It is but an incident. It does not dominate the situation. In the treatment of pneumonia, tuberculosis, carcinoma, rheumatism, even for a multiplicity of cases, no one drug may be indicated for many patients suffering from the same malady. And the drug needed in a given case is not defined by the diagnosis. The curative remedy is chosen by virtue of all the symptoms. These symptoms point to pathology most directly, however their significance may fail to accord with our preconceived ideas of that pathology.
It is impossible to accord to much attention and obedience to this principle–the study of symptoms in their totality. Many failures are to be attributed to superficial work here.
It is imperative to reiterate again and again the dicta– Symptom totality, similar remedy, single remedy, minimum dose. Then physicians who have done their best work in this way recognize its precise result, and are also bound to translate the language of result into terms of definite meaning, that further steps may be the right ones.
There is not a shadow of doubt that many a pathologist fails utterly as a therapist because his mind is completely saturated with knowledge of morbid anatomy. He is unable to disassociate himself from the idea, the consciousness of disease in itself, perhaps wholly apart from the suffering patient. Homoeopathy does not provide for such attitude, for it is devoted to the cure of the sick man.
Again the real point at issue may be read shining through all modern pathological literature. It is the demand for that agent which shall meet and reckon with not only the end-products of disease, but their beginnings,.
Antipathy and allopathy have worn themselves out, and are being disowned and discarded in the house of their friends.–M. W. VANDERBERGH, M.D.
What is called progress is medicine depends upon many things. To the homoeopathist it means development of an understanding of the sick and their positive needs. It does not mean a course of experimentation with different medicinal agents to determine their values. Thousands of new ideas and materials for therapy are introduced each year. These are exploited with more or less publicity despite medical ethics and the ostensible condemnation of all advertising. These make more or less impression on the popular mind, are often accepted and tried; and as often go into the limbo of forgotten things. And the public mind is such that it seems hardly to learn anything by the experience. In fact, many men and women seem to enjoy the experience of using once everything that comes along.
It is not only materials intended for therapeutic needs that are welcomed by the masses, it is all the new methods of treatment, the new machinery for diagnosis, much of which may be long considered the sine qua non of the healing art. Thus, the Roentgen ray is believed to tell everything, to illustrate in black and white whatever internal disorder may exist.
The grasp of therapy that is rational and that will meet the approval of the mind of science is hard to find. Perhaps the sensible individual may never have heard of homoeopathy and if he has he may have looked upon it as futile as all other cults that oppose dominant medicine.
However, the patient hears of homoeopathy and secures its aid.
In which case he soon learns that homoeopathy now is at it always has been–a treatment that takes full account of his individual case of disorder and selects the individual remedy that is indubitably called for. That remedy may be in its homoeopathic form a century old, or it may be a new one that was proven yesterday. In either case it is no new or novel procedure but abides by the law given originally.
As to the future of homoeopathy, I am optimistic. We may be temporarily submerged, but our vessel is staunch and seaworthy, and we have chart and compass to guide us on the voyage across the sea of medical knowledge.–MILTON POWELL, M.D.
It is said, and well said, that in no better way can the cause of scientific medicine be strengthened than by its faithful practice. At this point, then, we have proper emphasis given to the art of medicine as the suitable companion of its science. Science is the knowledge of what is to be known; art teaches what is to be done. And if still another definition were required, we might answer that by scientific medicine is meant homoeopathy. Homoeopathy comprises the elements of scientific medicine that are applicable to patients, that provide cure for the sick.