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- The Royal Road to Health - 3/34 -
with its traditional predilection for drugs causes its members to resolutely set their faces against any remedial process that runs counter to the theories they imbibed at college. They look askance at all such things and regard them as dangerous experiments, and assert that their dignity will not permit them to recognize any irregular practice, or any form of quackery.
Dignity! When was dignity ever known to save a life? Most humanity continue to suffer because the medical profession (blindly following in the rut of custom) fail to see anything superior to the antiquated system of treating disease by drugging, which many of its ablest members condemn as unreliable?
It is with all schools of medicine as it is with each individual practitioner of the healing art the less faith they have in medicine, the more they have in Hygiene; hence those who prescribe little or no medicine, are invariably and necessarily more attentive to Hygiene, which always was, and ever will be, all that there is really good, useful, or curative in medication. Such physicians are more careful to supply the vital organism with whatever of air, light, temperature, food, water, exercise or rest, etc., it needs in its struggle for health, and to remove all vitiating influences all poisons, impurities, or disturbing influences of any kind. This is hygienic medication, the natural and rational method of cure, and the more closely it is examined, the more strongly it will commend itself to reason.
It is a lamentable fact that the preservation of health is not taught in the medical schools, neither is it explained in their books, and judging from general practice not much regard is attached to it in their prescriptions. But when the inevitable typhoid or malaria appears as an inevitable consequence of neglected precautions, the physician can drug without mercy, and, as we contend, on most illogical grounds.
Who imagines for one instant, that quinine is a poison? Who is not aware that arsenic is a deadly poison? And yet physicians and medical journals calmly and gravely assert that arsenic is the better article of the two, and recommend it as a substitute for quinine. Can any intelligent person believe that a comparatively harmless tonic, and an intense poison are perfect equivalents for each other?
It is stated on reliable authority, that during the civil war, hundreds of sick soldiers implored the nurses to throw away their medicine. They feared drugs worse than bullets, and not without reason.
It is a curious fact that young physicians prescribe more medicine than the older ones.
Said the venerable Professor Alexander H. Stevens M.D., of the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons: "Young practitioners are a most hopeful class of community. They are sure of success. They start out in life with twenty remedies for every disease; and after an experience of thirty years or less they find twenty diseases for every remedy." And again: "The older physicians grow, the more skeptical they become of the virtues of medicine, and the more they are disposed to trust to the powers of Nature."
The effect of drugging a person, is to lock up the actual causes of the disease in the system; thus producing permanent and worse diseases. It is in accordance with common sense that they should be expelled, not retained. What is known as disease, is nothing more or less than the struggle of Nature, to cast out impurities, and this remedial effort should be regulated, and assisted, not obstructed by administering drugs, which only complicate the situation, by producing more disease.
No man can fight two enemies better than one, and, to give drugs to a system already struggling to regain its normal condition, is like tying the hands of a man who is beset by enemies. The truth is, that the real nature of disease is misapprehended by the popular schools of medicine, and until broader views obtain a lodgment among them, it is useless to hope for any alteration or improvement in the antiquated system of drugging. "Who shall decide, when doctors disagree ?" is an oft Quoted sentence, and, the following conflicting opinions from prominent physicians show conclusively how little is actually known of the action of drugs upon the human system, by those who administer them right and left.
Says the "United States Dispensatory," "Medicines are those articles which make sanative impressions on the body." This may be important if, true. But, per contra, says Professor Martin Paine, M.D., of the New York University Medical School, in his "Institutes of Medicine": "Remedial agents are essentially morbific in their operations."
But again says Professor Paine: "Remedial agents operate in the same manner as do the remote causes of disease." This seems to be a very distinct announcement that remedies are themselves causes of disease. And yet again: "In the administration of medicines we cure one disease by producing another." This is both important and true.
Professor Paine quotes approvingly the famous professional adage, in good technical Latin,
"Ubi virus, ibi vitus,"
which, being translated, means, "our strongest poisons are our best remedies."
Says Professor Alonzo Clark, M.D., of the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons: "All of our curative agents are poisons, and as a consequence, every dose diminishes the patient's vitality."
Says Professor Joseph M. Smith, M.D., of the same school: "All medicines which enter the circulation poison the blood in the same manner as do the poisons that produce disease."
Says Professor St. John, of the New York Medical College : "All medicines are poisonous."
Says Professor B. R. Peaslee, MD., of the same school: "The administration of powerful medicines is the most fruitful cause of derangements of the digestion."
Says Professor H. G. Cox, M.D., of the same school: "The fewer remedies you employ in any disease, the better for your patients."
Says Professor E. H. Davis, M.D., of the New York Medical College: "The modus operandi of medicines is still a very obscure subject. We know that they operate, but exactly how they operate is entirely unknown."
Says Professor J. W. Carson, M.D., of the New York University Medical School: "We do not know whether our patients recover because we give medicines, or because Nature cures them."
Says Professor E. S. Carr, of the same school: "All drugs are more or less adulterated; and as not more than one physician in a hundred has sufficient knowledge in chemistry to detect impurities, the physician seldom knows just how much of a remedy he is prescribing."
The authors disagree in many things; but all concur in the fact that medicines produce diseases; that their effects are wholly uncertain, and that we know nothing whatever of their modus operandi.
But now comes in the testimony of the venerable Professor Joseph M. Smith, M.D., who says: "Drugs do not cure diseases; disease is always cured by the vis medicatrix naturae."
And Professor Clark further complicates the problem before us by declaring that, "Physicians have hurried thousands to their graves who would have recovered if left to Nature." And again: "In scarlet fever you have nothing to do but to rely on the vis medicatrix naturae."
Says Professor Gross: "Of the essence of disease very little is known; indeed, nothing at all." And says Professor George B. Wood, M.D., of Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia ("Wood's Practice of Medicine"): "Efforts have been made to reach the elements of disease; but not very successfully; because we have not yet learned the essential nature of the healthy actions, and cannot understand their derangements."
On the other side of the Atlantic the claims of the existing medical schools to popular favor, do not appear to rest upon any surer basis than they do here, if we may judge from the following opinions expressed by some of the most eminent authorities in the British Kingdom:
"The medical practice of our days is, at the best, a most uncertain and unsatisfactory system; it has neither philosophy nor common sense to commend it to confidence." DR. EVANS, Fellow of the Royal College, London.
"There has been a great increase of medical men of late, but, upon my life, diseases have increased in proportion." JOHN ABERNETHY, M.D., "The Good," of London.
"Gentlemen, ninety-nine out of every hundred medical facts are medical lies; and medical doctrines are, for the most part, stark, staring nonsense." Prof. GREGORY, of Edinburgh, author of a work on "Theory and Practice of Physic."
"It cannot be denied that the present system of medicine is a burning shame to its professors, if indeed a series of vague and uncertain incongruities deserves to be called by that name. How rarely do our medicines do good! How often do they make our patients really worse! I fearlessly assert, that in most cases the sufferer would be safer without a physician than with one. I have seen enough of the malpractice of my professional. brethren to warrant the strong language I employ." Dr. RAMAGE, Fellow of the Royal College, London.
"The present practice of medicine is a reproach to the name of Science, while its professors give evidence of an almost total ignorance of the nature and proper treatment of disease. Nine times out of ten, our miscalled remedies are absolutely injurious to our patients, suffering under diseases of whose real character and cause we are most culpably ignorant." Prof. JAMEISON, of Edinburgh.
Assuredly the uncertain and most unsatisfactory art that we call medical science, is no science at all, but a jumble of inconsistent opinions; of conclusions hastily and often incorrectly drawn; of facts misunderstood or perverted; of comparisons without analogy; of hypotheses without reason, and theories not only useless, but dangerous." Dublin Medical Journal.
"Some patients get well with the aid of medicine; more without it; and still more in spite of it." SIR JOHN FORBES, M.D., F.R.S.
"Thousands are annually slaughtered in the quiet of the sick-room.'
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