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- The Royal Road to Health - 4/34 -
Governments should at once either banish medical men, and proscribe their blundering art, or they should adopt some better means to protect the lives of the people than at present prevail, when they look far less after the practice of this dangerous profession, and the murders committed in it, than after the lowest trades." Dr FRANK, an eminent author and practitioner.
"Our actual information or knowledge of disease does not increase in proportion to our experimental practice. Every dose of medicine given is a blind experiment upon the vitality of the patient." Dr. BOSTOCK, author of "History of Medicine."
"The science of medicine is a barbarous jargon, and the effects of our medicines on the human system in the highest degree uncertain; except, indeed, that they have destroyed more lives than war, pestilence, and famine combined." JOHN MASON GOOD, M.D., F.R.S., author of "Book of Nature," "A System of Nosology," "Study of Medicine," etc.
"I declare as my conscientious conviction, founded on long experience and reflection, that if there were not a single physician, surgeon, man midwife, chemist, apothecary, druggist, nor drug on the face of the earth, there would be less sickness and less mortality than now prevail." JAS. JOHNSON, M.D., F.R.S., Editor of the Medico- Chirurgical Review.
So it comes to this, that during three thousand years remedies have been accumulating until between two and three thousand drugs are recorded in the archives of the medical profession, and yet we have the admission of some of the highest authorities on the subject that the nature of disease is still a mystery, that the "modus operandi" of drugs is equally obscure, and that in consequence there is profound uncertainty as to the relation of drugs to the diseases for which they are prescribed.
Can one cause cure another. Can a poison expel a poison? Can the human system throw off two burdens better than one? If such a proposition were submitted to us in any other domain we would indignantly resent it as an insult to our intelligence.
There can be no question but that the public are largely responsible for the existing condition of things, for whatever they demand they can obtain, in obedience to the inexorable law of supply and demand: which accounts for the rapidly increasing interest in hygiene. An eminent authority on therapeutics says:
"The medical profession holds a most false relation to society. Its honors and emoluments are measured, not by the good, but by the evil it does. The physician who keeps some member of the family of his rich neighbor on a bed of sickness for months or years, may secure to himself thereby both fame and fortune; while the other who would restore the patient to health in a week or two, will be neither appreciated nor understood. If a physician, in treating a simple fever, which if left to itself or to Nature would terminate in health in two or three weeks, drugs the patient into half a dozen chronic diseases, and nearly kills himself half a dozen times, and prolongs his sufferings for months, he will receive much money and many thanks for carrying him safely through so many complications, relapses, and collapses. But if he cures in a single week, and leaves him perfectly sound, the pay will be small, and the thanks nowhere, because he has not been very sick!
"I know many of you will say, 'My physician is a very excellent man and a good scholar I have all confidence in him.' But what if his system is false? Is your confidence in him or in his system? If in his system, you are to be pitied. If in him, take his good advice and refuse his bad medicine."
The Caucasian has not much to learn from the Mongolian, it is true, but the public might safely imitate the Chinese in dealing with their physicians. A Chinaman of rank pays his physician a retaining salary so long as he remains in health, but, the instant he gets sick, the salary ceases. Manifestly, it is a common sense proceeding. The doctor has a vital interest in preserving the health of his client, since sickness entails a pecuniary loss; and best of all, the patient escapes having his system drenched with drugs. There is no valid reason why there should be any such thing as serious sickness; nor would there be if Hygiene were taught, and practised, and the whole materia medica consigned to oblivion. As Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "If all drugs were thrown into the sea, it would be so much better for man, but so much worse for the fishes."
Now, the remedies of the Hygienic system, which I advocate, comprehend everything except poisons. The drug system rejects almost everything but poisons. My system rejects only poisons, and adopts everything else. I welcome anything that possesses remedial value, provided it is in accordance with the laws of Nature, and am equally ready to accept suggestions from the laity, as from fellow practitioners. I am ready to submit everything thus presented, to the test of experiment, and employ it if found worthy.
In this regard I may, without vanity, lay claim to the possession of a more progressive spirit than the members of the drug schools, for their disincilination to adopt anything new in the treatment of disease has passed into a proverb. It might naturally be supposed that any one who should come forward with a discovery by which the suffering portion. of the human family would be benefited, would be welcomed with open arms by the medical fraternity, or, that at least he would be allowed a hearing, but unfortunately it is not so.
Even if the discoverer be one of themselves, they are apt to regard his proposition with a certain amount of distrust, but if he happens to be a layman they instantly stand upon their dignity denounce all irregular practice and raise the cry of quack.
In justice, however, it must be said that there are members of liberal, broad minded men in the medical profession who recognize the fact that brains are not monopolized by physicians, and who are perfectly willing to accord credit where it is due, as the following opinions will show.
Dr. A. O'Leary, Jefferson Medical College, of Philadelphia, says:
"The best things in the healing art have been done by those who never had a diploma the first Caesarian section, lithotomy, the use of cinchona, of ether as an anaesthetic, the treatment of the air passages by inhalation, the water cure and medicated baths, electricity as a healing agent, and magnetism, faith cure, mind cure, etc."
Prof. Waterhouse, writing to the learned Dr. Mitchell, of New York, says:
"I am, indeed, so disgusted with learned quackery that I take some interest in honest, humane, and strongminded empiricism; for it has done more for our art, in all ages and all countries, than all the universities since the time of Charlemagne."
Professor Benj. Rush, of the greatest and oldest Allopathic College in America, says:
"Remember how many of our most useful remedies have been discovered by quacks. Do not therefore be afraid of conversing with them, and of profiting by their ignorance and temerity. Medicine has its pharisees as well as religion. But the spirit of this sect is as unfriendly to the advancement of medicine as it is to Christian charity. In the pursuit of medical knowledge let me advise you to converse with nurses and old women. They will often suggest facts in the history and cure of disease which have escaped the most sagacious observers of nature. By so doing, we may discover laws of the animal economy which have no place in our system of Nosology, or in our theories of physic. The practice of physic hath been more improved by the casual experiments of illiterate nations, and the rash ones of vagabond quacks, than by all the once celebrated professors of it, and the theoretic teachers in the several schools of Europe, very few of whom have furnished us with one new medicine, or have taught us better to use our old ones, or have in any one instance at all, improved the art of curing disease."
Dr. Adam Smith says:
"After denouncing Paracelsus as a quack, the regular medical profession stole his `quack-silver' mercury; after calling Jenner an imposter it adopted his discovery of vaccination; after dubbing Harvey a humbug it was forced to swallow his theory of the circulation of the blood."
Professor J. Rodes Buchanan, Boston, says:
"Mozart, Hoffman, Ole Bull, and Blind Tom were born with a mastery of music, as Zerah Colburn with a mastery of mathematics, as others are born with a mastery of the mystery of life and disease, like Greatrakes, Newton, Hutton, Sweet and Stephens, born doctors, and score of similar renown."
Professor Charles W. Emerson, M.D., the well known resident of the Monroe Conservatory of Oratory, of Boston, says:
"The progress in therapeutics has and still continues to come from the unlearned. Common people give us our improvements and the school men spend their time in giving Greek and Latin names to these improvements, and building metaphysical theories around them."
This is a heavy indictment against the medical profession, as a body, but truth and justice compel me to state that most of the foregoing statements were made some years ago, and that intolerance can no longer be charged against them as it could, even in the last generation. Nor can we close our eyes to the fact that thousands of highminded physicians are devoting their time and energies to the amelioration of disease. Scarcely a month passes in which some convention of physicians is not held to consider the best means of dealing with some particular malady, and a large number of the attending physicians at those conventions contribute their time and experience at considerable financial loss to themselves.
In the ranks of the medical body there are able and honorable men who would adorn any profession--men who have sacrificed health, wealth and happiness in their devotion to the cause of suffering humanity the pages of history are full of instances of such heroism. But of what avail is it to have the most perfect examples of humanity for physicians, if the system they practice is an erroneous one? It is impossible to secure good results with bad methods. We must have a sure foundation, if we expect to raise an abiding structure. And that is why I am in opposition to the existing method of treating disease. Not because of any feeling against the physician individually, but for the reason that I consider their system based upon error upon a false conception of the true nature of disease, and of the relation of drugs to the human system.
There is a tradition in the orthodox medical schools, that all curative processes are dependent upon, and act only in accordance
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