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an enviable success in life, has gained example worthy the emulation of a fortune and the confidence and other young men. esteem of his community. This is an
CHARLES W. HOBART.
THE NECESSITY FOR A REFORMATION IN THE PRACTICE OF
It may be well to preface an arti- cure for it the widest attention. The cle of this kind, appearing in a liter- proposition as stated, to wit: ary magazine, rather than in a medi- That a reformation in the practice cal journal, with a word of explana- of medicine, as understood and contion. Aside from the fact that it will ducted according to the prevailing probably reach the eye of an equally and hereditary methods, is a neceslarge or larger number of medical sity, provided the desideratum is to men through the columns of this make of it anything approaching an magazine, than if contributed to any exact science, does not require an armedical journal whose columns
gument. The proposition is a selfwould be open to the discussion of a 'evident one to any physician or perquestion involving the traditional son of intelligence at all conversant formulated and accepted dogmas, with the subject. precedents and teachings, of an in- That great advances have been exact and defective system, of which made in this direction, and especially they are the exponents, is also the so in surgery and collateral branches fact that it is a matter of vital impor during the past two or three decades, tance and interest to a much larger does not admit of a doubt. class-the great majority-who would portunities for such an advance were be as liable to see any sort of an ar- only equaled by the necessities deticle in the moon as they would in a manding it; and that within the ranks medical journal.
of the profession have been found The scope and design of the article men endowed with the requisite abilibeing to reach and to interest the ty, zeal and capacity to accomplish people, whom it vitally concerns, results relatively unsurpassed, if aprather than the consideration of an proached, in any other department of exclusive professional subject, at once scientific investigation, is a tribute establishes the propriety of its pub- more eloquent than any that could be lication in such a medium as will se- chiseled in marble, to a profession
the noblest and the most indispensible possible in the nature of things. That of all-whose scope is the widest; it still retains some of the hereditary whose aim and object has ever been, elements of antiquity and of weakand must ever continue to be, the ness, entailed upon it during its most humane, the most sacred and the transition from medieval times and most loyal to the material welfare of which the march of progress has as humanity.
yet failed to eliminate therefrom, is an To the assumed inquiry from that illustration of the tenacity with which large class who may have thought we are prone to cling to the old habits little upon a subject of equal impor- and methods of thought and actiontance to them, as to those who have under the specious delusion, that more carefully considered the ques- what filled the requirements of our tion, it may be well to briefly state professional ancestors will answer some of the reasons why the practice very well for us. We should not lose of medicine cannot to-day claim any sight of the fact, however, that this is very near approach to being consider- era of marvelous progress in all ed as an exact science as conducted departments and directions, and that and understood by either of the so- it is not in conformity with the spirit called systems or schools of practice, of the times that we should automatiknown and recognized as the “regu- cally follow where our predecessors lar," or Allopathic, and the “irregu- have blindly led. lar," or Homeopathic methods.
The definition of Homeopathy as The two being based upon theories given by German authorities-where diametrically opposite in the cure of this so-called system incubated withdisease, it follows that both cannot be in the memory of the oldest inhabitcorrect.
ant, and where it is now but little The "regular" being by far the more than a reminiscence, is as folmost ancient system ; having existed lows: "The art of amusing the for centuries, and to have constantly patient while nature cures the disincreased in strength and influence,
This method of practice, as the Nestor of every advance, dis- “ Similia similibus curanter," which apcovery and improvement of impor- peals to the palate and to the sentitance in the whole range of scientific ment, rather than to the reason of the investigation affecting the healing art; patient, may be said to have a disis that method to which we properly tinct mission in pandering to the preaddress ourselves in this discussion- ferences of a certain proportion of and the only school through which mortals, so constituted that they can the practice of medicine can ever be- best appreciate that which no human
an exact science or any ap- intelligence can explain or compreproach thereto, so far as it may be hend, and thus harmlessly (by per
mitting the patient to recover, if the The efficacy of drugs in the cure of vital forces are sufficient to overcome diseases depends upon the amount of the disease, as is the case in ninety- the active principle contained therein. five out of every one hundred cases of The active principle may be an alkaordinary sickness) taking the place loid or a glucoside, according to the of some more deadly mysticism, pos- nature of the plant. If it contains no sessing a more potent element of de- active principle, it is inert as a healstruction. The glory and the insig ing agent. The amount of this active nificance of Homeopathy, pure and principle contained in any given simple, is in its utter harmlessness quantity of any drug depends upon a and inertness—its sins being those of great variety of causes, and of necesomission rather than of commission. sity varies greatly, depending upon
Let us then proceed to answer the the conditions under which the drug assumed question—"Why is there a was obtained, to wit: The country or necessity for a reformation in the locality where the plant was grown; practice of medicine?"
the time of the year in which it was We answer: because that under gathered; the character of the season the therapeutics of the past and of during its growth, whether wet or to-day, and of the present method of dry, cold, hot or temperate; the manprescribing, the practice of medicine ner in which it was gathered, cured by the prevailing methods can never and cared for until reaching market aspire to the dignity of a well-defined - conditions with others
upon and exact science, and for the follow- which depends the quantity of the ing reasons:
active principle therein contained, To fulfill the conditions requisite and therefore the beneficial, derogain the counteracting of diseased con- tory or disastrous effect
the ditions, either in their incipiency or patient. in their more chronic forms, if abso- The drug, in course of time, reaches lute certainty is to be approached, the retail druggists' shelves--whethfirst of all the remedies employed er it may be in its original condition must be of absolute strength, purity or after passing through the hands and reliability.
of the manufacturing chemist-say No physician of intelligence would in the form of root, leaf, bark, for a moment risk his reputation up- flowers, plant or powder, solid or on a denial of this proposition, any
fluid extract, tincture, elixir, syrup more than he would upon the asser- or any other obtainable condition. tion that purity and reliability can be The druggist, however competent depended upon in the filling of his he may be, can know very little represcriptions through the ordinary garding the purity, strength, reliachannels.
bility or efficacy of the drugs upon frown upon
his shelves, for the reasons above all the blame in the case of failure stated and the following:
to give relief or effect a cure, and the At the time the drug is called for druggist becomes opulent. by the doctor's prescription, it may Another increasing evil and rebe ten weeks or ten years old, and proach to the prevailing method of during this time have been subjected practice-less fatal it may be to our to a variety of deteriorating in- patients than to our Code of Ethics Auences, such as exposure to light or -is the almost universal and indisto the varying conditions of the criminate prescribing of proprietary atmosphere-extremes of heat or cold, and patented compounds-mysterimoisture or dryness.
ous in their composition and unreThe chemical changes which take liable in their effects. place in drugs, of necessity subjected Surely this is a long step backtu these varying conditions, cannot wards in scientific medication, and be estimated from month to month, one that all who are particularly or year to year; and in addition to captious regarding professional prothis, when we also take into account prieties and eclat should especially the alarming extent to which adul
with annihilating conteration is carried on through the tempt and scorn-or adopt some rapacity of unprincipled dealers and better method of practice wherein manufacturers; the infinitesimal such expedients are not found neceschance of obtaining reliable drugs sary. or reliable effects therefrom, at once The nauseating and repulsive mixbecomes apparent.
The same pre
tures which under our old practice is scription calling for different ingred- so often a serious hindrance to sucients, filled to-day at one drug store, cessful treatment, and a more serious and to-morrow at another, will in the reproach to our mode of treatment, large majority of cases vary entirely
is an abomination deserving only of in therapeutic effect, as nineteen out obsolescence. It may be said that this of twenty patients, who have ever is a consideration that should not tried the experiment, will testify. So enter into the question from a scienthat the element of exactness and tific, therapeutic or philosophic standreliability as between the doctor and point. Practically, however, it is of the patient is almost entirely re- the greatest importance, and is the moved; and little besides doubt, one consideration above all others guess-work and chance remains, how- that has served to foster and perpetever competent the doctor and drug- uate other methods, systems and exgist may be.
pedients of practice. The patient is the one who assumes But were all other difficulties elimall the chances. The doctor receives inated, preventing this desirable and
important consummation of scientific less and constantly increasing numexactness as between the physician ber of remedies and treatments, adand the patient, the one fact of our vised and recommended by an endless encumbered therapeutics would be and constantly increasing number of amply sufficient to advance the date authors, writers and teachers, all of such an attaintment, co-equal with alike positive and persistent in the that of the millennium.
advocacy of their own particular With some ten thousand or
ideas and theories which
may recognized drugs, remedies and com- or may not have been based upon pounds to select from — good, bad personal experience. Thus it is that and indifferent-need there be any confusion, uncertainty and skepticism surprise that in the treatment of a naturally take possession of the ingiven number of cases or diseases, experienced seeker after the best way, no two physicians, however compe- until by some process of reasoning tent they may be, without consulta- or election, or possibly in time, by tion, collusion or formulation, or the experience, he forms an opinion of direct interposition of some occult his own, which may or may not be of power or influence, could, by any
value to his patrons. We now come reasonable probability, treat the same to the consideration of the remedycase or condition in the same scien- Dosimetry. tific (?) manner.
J. EDWARD MACNEILL. For each disease there are an end.
(To be continued.)