[Read before I.H.A., Bureau of Homoeopathic Philosophy, June 6, 1935.].
JOHN V. ALLEN, JR., M.D.
On many occasions we have read articles in medical magazines which in our minds we class in one of several categories. They may have been simply of interest in one case, or there is something learned from another, in still another a wave of antagonistic criticism may hold sway in our minds. Then we may happen to read one, that as a physician and particularly as a homoeopathic physician, makes us wonder how the medical profession can tolerate the backing down of their members in their lack of ability, confidence and patience to treat certain types of physical disorders.
About a year ago the latter impression was left with me after reading an article entitled Why Treat Chronic Cases? This article appeared in a medical magazine which is nationally distributed. Undoubtedly there were many facts and some good reasoning and arguments, but the conclusion as indicated by the title was an admission of failure.
In this particular case the author would allow the unfortunate chronics to shift for themselves, or drift into the hands of quacks or those unqualified by sufficient training to treat human ills.
No doubt many of us have momentarily felt a similar temptation in the discouragement of failure and have wished to be relieved of responsibility. However, we must remember we are homoeopathic physicians and have a method of cure at hand even for chronic diseases. This truth cannot be denied, but the application of it means constant work that is not easy, but it reaps a reward to the one who perseveres.
Of course we should know the limitations of cure and know that remedial action is also limited according to the degree of pathology, the degree of vital force remaining after disease has taken hold and other facts that Hahnemann has set forth in the Organon.
It is not within the scope of this paper to go into the procedures of chronic cases. But a chronic disorder in which the history is taken properly from a Homoeopathic standpoint, a thorough physical examination made, noting the subjective and objective symptoms important to repertory study, and a capable repertory study made of the case is the answer to those to whom chronic cases are mystery and a bugaboo.
We cannot expect to make a dent in the prejudice and inherited stubbornness of the majority of the allopathic school. We should not expect them to give us more than a passing notice. With a few exceptions they are callous and immune to anything which in their eyes homoeopathic minds or hands have tainted. Let me except and congratulate those who have listened and seen, and have had the courage and conviction to study and practice homoeopathy. Like Hahnemann they have suffered criticism and chastisement, loss of medical position and prestige to follow the road of scientific and curative art. These physicians often exceed and lead us in results. Should not we, who have been reared in homoeopathy, feel abashed that they in their enthusiasm, earnestness and work have left many of us behind.
The class which could profit by the lesson learned from the article Why Treat Chronics? are those of our own school who know better, but who will not act. They acknowledge the way, but will not take it, being satisfied to view their accomplishments as rewards for following modern medicine and their failures as excuses because they are allowable in modern medicine. I should qualify these remarks by saying that this is not a reflection on modern medicine, for we are all indebted to it, but the homoeopath should not be satisfied with this standard. He should add a working knowledge of homoeopathic therapeutics to the recognized system. Few of us are endowed with this knowledge. Our colleges cannot completely present it in the allotted time, so most of us must seek it through study, association with homoeopathic physicians of recognized ability in this art, or through postgraduate work. I believe the latter is the best way. In this way one learns the philosophy and the practical application; both are necessary for success.
With the knowledge gained through such a course of study and application and continued application, the homoeopathic physician can smooth the hard road and be a blessing to a class of patients who are abused, tossed about and financially distressed by the average treatment. This class is no other than the so-called chronic.
If we do this we can turn the dissatisfaction of both patient and physician into satisfaction and comfort. And instead of asking, “Why treat chronics?” we can firmly say, “Why NOT treat chronics?”.
DR. MCLAREN: I think is a very splendid paper. All we have to think about is in acute disease, according to our allopathic friends – nature does all the work; medicine is no good, if we leave them alone, they will recover. So we dont need to treat acute diseases, according to them they get well anyway, and now we dont need to bother with the chronic diseases. This is from the allopathic standpoint. From the homoeopathic standpoint, three-quarters to half of our time is taken up in treating chronic diseases, and we derive from half to three-quarters of our income from such diseases.
Nearly every acute disease leaves some impairment or some weakness, which, unless it is treated, will become chronic. A person has a number of colds. The first thing he knows, he has chronic catarrh, chronic bronchitis, later on, asthma. It is only because our allopathic friends can not treat chronic diseases that such a paper ever was written. We as homoeopaths know that one of our greatest fields is the treatment of chronic diseases.
DR. MACFARLAN: I enjoyed that paper very much. Acute diseases are much more successful to prescribe for than chronic ones which take a great deal of patience and care. I know an old-school man in Philadelphia, a skin specialist. He said, “Macfarlan, I enjoyed myself very much as a skin specialist. None of my patients ever die, none of them ever get well, and I am not called out at night.” (Laughter).
DR. CAMPBELL: I dont want to appear to have too much to say in this meeting, but I think there has been some rather unfair criticism of our allopathic brethren. They do treat chronic diseases, and they treat them with all their might. They get some pretty fair results. I can think of any number of chronic conditions. Take diabetes. Up until insulin was introduced in the medical practice, the only diabetics who had anything to hope for, from our standpoint, at least, were those who were under homoeopathic care. We must grant that they were a very, very small percentage of the total number of diabetics. Since the introduction of insulin, with a scientifically arranged diet, the average diabetic has practically the same expectancy of life as an ordinary individual. In the case of tuberculosis, than which there is no more chronic ailment, scientific medicine approaches it from a natural angle, puts the patient to bed, gives him rest, and the therapy that is employed today is such that the vitality of the patient is not depressed or interfered with, and some of the therapy in a fair percentage of the cases seems to produce pretty good results.
In syphilis, I dont know that they have so much to boast about, but you do find in the clinics a number returning for their second course of treatment, thereby proving that they werent cured the first time, and that is about the only proof that you have.
The treatment of pernicious anaemia by the administration of liver I think is a triumph for our allopathic friends. I just mention this lest this discussion appearing on our records and falling into the hands of an allopathic physician should disgust him to such a point that he would be more antagonistic than ever.
DR. V.E. BALDWIN: I appreciate the attitude of the writer of the paper; also of the President in the remark he made saying that a large per cent of homoeopathic business relates to chronic diseases. In fact, I believe three-fourths of my work pertains to this type. After thirty-five years of practice I am more convinced than ever that the homoeopath does have something in his potencies to bring recovery to the chronic sick, that with all the credit we must allow the allopathic brethren in looking after the physical side, the climatic care, the diet procedure and the chemical and laboratory methods and late programs of treatment, we do have in our homoeopathic potencies something that goes deeper and lasts longer than can possibly happen by the methods the allopathic men employ.
I believe every man or woman present who has been a homoeopathic prescriber for a number of years can relate instances of patients coming to him after the very best of allopathic care, where the administration of some deep-acting homoeopathic remedy set up a recovery process that put the patient back on his feet again. Most of us perhaps find this thing most conspicuous in our own home lives and families. In 1918 I had a daughter who had black diphtheria. She was desperately sick. For twenty-four hours I thought she would not live. I did give her 10,000 units of antitoxin. She is an invalid yet. I am not complaining about the antitoxin, but I do know that by the administration of homoeopathic remedies since then I have been able to maintain a status of health in her case. That is very unusual for those who had the same type of diphtheria and had had antitoxin. A neighbor just across the way from me who developed this same type of diphtheria did not have anti-toxin, became paralyzed, and for six months was not able to stand on his feet. The administration of Diphtherinum and Causticum undoubtedly did restore that man to his health, for today he is perfectly agile, a healthy man in business. I have other patients of the same type where I am sure that the administration of a homoeopathic remedy did for these people what is not possible to hope for or expect by the conventional methods. Other instances of that kind we all could recite.
DR. TURTON: May I be allowed to interject a question? Just how are we going to compete with drugstore prescribing? It seems to me that does more injury than the real allopathic prescription.
DR. LEWANDOWSKI: Many years ago Oliver Wendell Holmes said that the people would be much better off if all the medicine were thrown into the ocean, and the fish would be worse off. We know that allopath has morphine for pain, aspirin as an analgesic or antipyretic, neuronal for epilepsy, castor oil, which would make a very poor grease, for a laxative, and cascara.
Speaking about insulin, I have read statistics recently that here have been more deaths from the use of insulin than insulin was ever meant to benefit in the diabetic. I can vouch for the information I am giving you.
So far as arsiphenamine is concerned in the use of syphilis, there have been more tertiary or advanced cases of lues since the use of arsiphenamine. I am opposed to either the use of insulin in diabetes or arsiphenamine for syphilis.
I had the experience in the first two or three years of my practice of being a strong allopath, with high bills and terrible results, and it didnt take me very long to collect my thoughts and abandon the use of morphine, luminol, bromides, castor oil, cascara, and many other nostrums. (Applause).
DR. A PULFORD: The discussion proves two facts: That difference of opinion proves quite clearly that the truth lies somewhere if you knew but where; the other one is if you throw enough mud, some of it is bound to stick. The fact of the matter is that if the law of similars is correct and the indicated remedy wont cure a disease, no other method will, and it is a proven fact that unless by accident the allopath has never cured a chronic disease. He has been able to suppress it, to palliate it so that the patient was comfortable, but never got rid of the cause. Consequently, I am here to state to you that I have never yet in all my experience seen a disease of any description, of a chronic nature, that was ever cured by any allopath.
I want to confirm what my brother said about insulin. I think your statistics were gathered from the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, for I remember reading the identical thing.
DR. ALMFELT: I have done nothing else in the last eighteen years but deal with chronic diseases of the worst kind, that is after they have gone the rounds of other treatment, except homoeopaths. That is probably correct, that all chronic patients get better under almost any form of treatment, even the worst, at times, but when it comes to actual cure, that is an entirely different problem.
Just what is the cure of a disease, and to begin with, what is a disease? We dont always have these conceptions clear in our minds. For this reason, I would like to put the question, what is it that actually cures disease? Is it medicine? Is it food? Or is it physical treatments, or anything we do? If you would allow me to answer that question myself, I would say none of these things cure diseases. The actual thing that cures is life itself, that thing within us that makes us a living being, the thing that makes a distinction between a dead body and a living being; that is life, whatever it may be called. That is the thing that cures when there is disorder in the human body and it maintains health and order, but we as physicians can do a great deal to help life in this process of restoring health, or we might retard it by some things we do.
All people, including the physician eat badly; they know nothing about proper eating in relation to health. Unfortunately, that is the truth. In this state of New York, most men of importance die of some form of heart disease between the ages of fifty-five and sixty-five. Is that necessary? That is the time when a man should be at his best and do his best work. He has lived long enough to know something; he has had some experience, and he ought to go on living indefinitely if he knows how to live properly.
That being the case, when these people come to me, the first thing I do is to clean house within their bodies. That means elimination. I can have a patient on a light diet of fruit juices and vegetable broth for two or three days, and have colonic irrigations every day, and lots of stuff is carried out. What does it mean? When this stuff is not removed from the system completely every day, there is an absorption of these poisons and it poisons the system and produces disease or disorder of various kinds in the body. You say the remedy will not work. It will work all right, but you will not get as good results from the remedy as when you clean out the system at the same time and give nature a better chance, because by the things we do, we upset the machinery or we assist nature or life. That is my experience.
DR. ROBERTS: Dr. McLaren says that three-quarters of our work is chronic. All of our work is chronic. What is chronic disease as we understand it, or what is acute disease as we understand it? Acute disease is simply a bubbling up of a chronic, fundamental dyscrasia in the system. Take our acute childrens disease. It is a clearing house because there is something wrong fundamentally in the childs constitution. All acute diseases in their primary essence are eruptions of the chronic.
DR. ALLEN: My first thought in reading the original article was that it was a real answer to the question, “Why treat chronic diseases?” It riled me so that I could not help writing a paper on the subject. We do not say that we as homoeopaths are the only ones who can treat disease and who help people, but I agree with several who have spoken before, that when it comes to cure, we can probably claim that distinction.