Source: Physical Culture
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Medicine—Criticism—Blind Prejudice”
Date of publication: November 1901
Volume number: 6
Issue number: 2
|“Medicine—Criticism—Blind Prejudice.” Physical Culture Nov. 1901 v6n2: pp. 88-89.|
FOR hundreds of years the representatives of medical science have so shrouded
their so-called secrets in mystery that they have been comparatively free from
One physician writes, that for stating my free opinion in the treatment of President McKinley I deserve the same fate as his murderer. He was born at the wrong time. He should have lived when witches were being burned at the stake.
This general tendency of the press to refrain from adverse criticism wherever physicians are concerned has been the means of perpetuating their errors from one generation to another.
Public criticism is a searchlight as bright, as strong, and, at times, as intense as the sun itself, and the darkness of error, superstition and deceit flee before it, like criminals from the light of day.
It is this freedom from public criticism which has enabled different schools of medicine, holding fiercely antagonistic conclusions as to the treatment of diseases, to successfully turn their graduates loose on an unsuspecting and woefully ignorant public. If the press would freely comment upon the methods taught and used by these different schools, it would take but a short time for the public to decide as to which is the best BY THEIR RESULTS.
The lack of free public criticism of everything appertaining to medicine has made possible in the medical profession one of the most astounding conditions that ever existed in any civilized age. Here we have all these various schools of medicine, each fiercely contending to be right, and more fiercely condemning the theories advanced by their opponents, and all the representatives of each school so violently prejudiced that they will not even compare the results of their methods with those of other schools.
It would be an easy matter to decide as to which treatment is the best by a true record of the mortality percentage and of the period of sickness resulting from each method in a large number of cases suffering from a particular disease. Of course, two or three cases would not furnish much information, but say if twenty, thirty, or even fifty cases of one acute disease were treated by each method. What a “world” of valuable information would be found in the results of such an experiment. For instance, if fifty cases of typhoid fever were treated by each method and if, for example, from allopathic methods ten cases died and the average time required for recovery of those living was twenty-five days, and if from homeopathic methods six died and the average time of recovery was twenty days, and if from the water cure, with an almost absolute fast, none died, and the average time for recovery was ten days—there would be no question as to the best method, and every physician, who upon such evidence refused to change his methods, ought to be sent to jail for criminal negligence, just as would an engineer who, through idleness or carelessness, fails in his duty and causes an accident which jeopardizes the lives of those in his charge.
Can anyone with brains enough to “come in out of the rain” fail to wonder why the above described comparison is not made? It is the plain, even imperative, duty of physicians to make experiments of this nature if the lives of their patients are considered of value. But I have no intention of waiting for such an experiment, either by the Government or the blindly, even madly prejudiced managers of our  medical colleges. If I could get sufficient help from my subscribers, I would myself undertake to carry it through; for the results of the accurate knowledge acquired would save thousands, perhaps millions, of lives.