SPECIALIZATION IN MEDICINE: A THREAT TO.
Of late years, in medical journals as well as in the public press, attention has been called to the gradual disappearance of the old-time general practitioner, the time-honored family doctor who faithfully served, from the cradle to grave, the families entrusted to his care and brought the babies into this troubled old world. He never became rich, often served without thought of adequate recompense, but lived a fuller life, secure in the loyalty, confidence and esteem of those entrusted to his care. His eventual passing, now threatened, will leave behind an aching void in the hearts of his patients. May his soul rest in peace.
Modern medicine, with its more numerous, community hospitals, its much greater emphasis upon laboratory diagnosis and scientific attainments, is changing all this, though not without a heavy price, at times seemingly too high to pay. Young physicians, highly trained in every branch of medical and surgical science and technique during their college and hospital interne years, are loathe to settle in remoter districts where the emoluments of practice are comparatively small and where they are too far from the hospital and laboratory facilities to which they have been accustomed.
Small wonder, then, that such graduates prefer to prefect themselves in some special branch of professional endeavor, usually and preferably surgical in character. Specialties have increased in number, often to an absurd degree, and the laity has been educated to accept and now too frequently demands the allegedly superior wisdom and skill of the specialist.
No honest, rightly thinking physician denies the necessity for the skillful specialist, if and when his services are really demanded and has, therefore, no hesitation in calling upon him for aid, especially in the ever increasing field of surgery, a field which seems to widen as the years go by. Yet every physician knows full well that much needless surgery is resorted to in ailments which could be, or at least might have been, relieved and possibly cured by the judicious prescribing of purely medicinal remedies, especially of those to be found in the homoeopathic materia medica.
Unfortunately our remaining allegedly homoeopathic medical colleges, though of the highest professional standing, are subject to the requirements long since established by the powerfully dominant school of medicine throughout the forty-eight states, requirements which must be implicitly obeyed, if the colleges are to continue to enjoy their class A standing. All such requirements have the force of law by virtue of which instruction in the tenets and materia medica of homoeopathy is relegated to a position of pathetically minor importance. Here lies the great danger to the interests and advancement of Homoeopathy with the result that the homoeopathic profession itself has been corrupted and has become to a great extent a caricature of its former self.
Hence each year sees the increasing loss of our former homoeopathic hospitals in which, if homoeopathic practice is applied at all, it for the most part is extremely crude and widely at variance with the fundamental principles as promulgated by the fathers of the homoeopathic school. This departure is with increasing speed destroying the correct practice of homoeopathy, a destruction which the painfully few Hahnemannians are powerless to prevent and whose recruits, who frequently are attracted from the ranks of disappointed members of the Old School, are too small in number to oppose.
If homoeopathy itself as a science and art based, as it is, upon proven, natural laws is to advance instead of undergoing increasing retrogression, it must attract to itself those whose altruism is above mere monetary considerations and who look upon the sick individual as one who must be regarded as a whole not as a collection of individual organs and parts which can be singled out for special treatment. All organs of the body are necessarily interdependent and when one of them is not functioning physiologically, others will soon be affected in like manner until the entire body eventually becomes in a real sense sick.
The healthy human body is best able to resist disease and when the latter finds lodgement, it expresses itself in varying manner with different individual, no two of whom are exactly alike. Each one, therefore, requires his own particular remedy, suited to his symptoms manifestations and the latter finds their counterpart in the similar remedy by which is meant that remedy which, when given experimentally to a healthy human being, arouses symptoms similar to those expressive of the sick man to be healed. This statement is best revealed by the Latin formula, “Similia similibus curentur” or, “Let like be cured by likes”. This formula is fundamental to the science and art of homoeopathic therapy.
All other principles proceed from this one. To master the art of homoeopathic practice the physician must study and completely understand the philosophy as laid down by Samuel Hahnemann in his Organon Of The Art of Healing and by study of more modern expositions such as those of Dunham, Kent and Stuart Close. Too many allegedly homoeopathic physicians do not understand the philosophy of which they supposedly are exponents.
In former years, those of the homoeopathic profession who, due to particular aptitudes, had become specialists carried with them in their work a thorough knowledge of the homoeopathic materia medica as this related to the patient as an individual and also as remedies were related more particularly to the organs in which they specialized. Today, very few such men exist and among surgeons scarcely any are to be found who make any pretence of employing homoeopathic medicine.
In surgical cases there is much that are carefully selected homoeopathic remedy can do at the proper time and without in the slightest degree trespassing upon the prerogatives of the surgeon. Unfortunately, such a helpful remedy is seldom called upon.
Naturally,as with every other science, homoeopathy has its limits of application and a study of Hahnemanns Organon, especially Paragraph 3, will reveal these. Such limitations are usually to be found in the presence of pathological end-produced are likely to be those of the pathological condition itself therefore of little value in prescribing, except possibly for purposes of homoeopathic, temporary palliation. Such temporary relief is often possible and is far safe than the unscientific drugging with pain relievers so characteristic of the orthodox profession and so productive of great harm to the patient who is led to employ them.
It would seem form all that has been observed, that modern specialism is indeed a real threat to homoeopathic practice and it behooves the disciples of Hahnemann to study the question of advancement most seriously. For after all, the members of the orthodox and of the homoeopathic schools do not speak the same language and inasmuch as the latter school is in a very small minority, it had best endeavor to keep to itself, improve itself, and not try to imitate the methods of the great, dominant school. Also we, as homoeopathic physicians mindful that our real work lies within the field of medicinal therapeutics, ought to perfect these by provings and clinical investigation and verification.
It is true that for these purpose much money will be required, but a small beginning in a hospital and outdoor clinic still in our possession may serve as the nucleus for such an attempt. It is an idle dream to expect our colleges to do this, for no undergraduate institution can carry out our plans. A post graduate school of homoeopathy associated with a hospital would be the ideal method of advancing the cause of genuine homoeopathy and would ultimately fill the demand (which does still exist) for Hahnemannian physicians. If the supply is delayed too long, this demand will cease ; the implications of such a calamity are highly disquieting, to state the matter mildly. -RUDOLPH F. RABE.
HOMOEOPATHY IS DEAD! LONG LIVE HOMOEOPATHY!.
So we are informed by that great American oracle, TIME, the great molder of public opinion and giver of reliable information. If TIME says it, it must be true. All we have left to us is a “bedside manner.”.
Now, the only thing remaining for us to do, if we are at all able, is to come to the meeting of the International Hahnemannian Association at the Netherland Plaza Hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio, in June, 22-24 incl., 1949, and show we are not dead, or else just grab a lily and lie down and prove TIME to be correct.
In these days of certain uncertainty let us get together and prove to each other that there is still a spark of life left yet for Homoeopathy and that we, too, are psychosomatically very much alive.
There will be food for the physical man, as well, on the evening of 23 June 1949, at 7:30 P.M. Please let us reserve a place for you at the Banquet. I promise informality and brief speech, and a toastmistress who will make it worth your while. -DAYTON T. PULFORD, M.D., PRESIDENT.
It is appropriate at this time to indicate what is in store for those of us who will attend the sixty-eighty annual meeting of the International Hahnemannian Association, which will be held at the Hotel Netherland Plaza in Cincinnati, Ohio, June 22, 23, 24, 1949. We are sorry not to have available at this writing the entire program for the convention. But procrastination seems to be characteristic of bureau chairmen; hence, we can furnish the complete program for four bureaux only. Yet a glance at the following list of bureau chairmen will show that an interesting scientific banquet is in the making:
BUREAU OF PHILOSOPHY-J. W. Waffensmith, M.D.
BUREAU OF CLINICAL MEDICINE-A. H. Grimmer, M.D.
BUREAU OF MATERIA MEDICA-Moore T K., M.D.
BUREAU OF SURGERY AND OBSTETRICS-A. Dwight Smith, M.D.
BUREAU OF PEDIATRICS-H. A. Neiswander,.