Consultations with Hom opaths
BMJ (Clinical Research Edition)
750 THE BRITISH MADICAW7-URVAL . [May j7,88r. . 70 NA . .M ...7 their practice to the altered circumstances and views which now prevail as we do ourselves. Has our own practice undergone no change ? Do we still adhere to the teachings of half a century ago? If not, are we entitled to put on the mantle of infallibility, and to condemn all systems but our own as irrational and unscientific? What is rational medicine ? Is it that which was in vogue fifty years :igo, when our patients were bled,
... ients were bled, cupped, leeched, purged, starved ? Or, is it that which succeeded it: when all these depletive measures were abandoned, and they were gorged with food, and stimulated with wine, brandy, and rum, till the outcome of this scientific treatment had culminated in the manufacture of a legion of drunkards? Or, is it that towards which we are travelling at the present day, when both the former systems are decried ; and we are taught that safety can only be secured by abandoning the one and the other, and adopting the practice of total abstinence from all alcoholic liquors ? If then, we have changed our prin9iples-of treatment, surely homceopaths are not to be denounced, and-stigmatised as dishonest, because they have modified theirs. Between the best practitioners of the homceopathic school and ourselves, there is really little difference, as, indeed, is proved by the case referred to by Dr. Markham, in his letter published in your issue of the 23rd ultimo. Let us, then, look this matter fairlv in the face; and ask ourselves, whether the time has not arrived when we should review, our position, with relation to homoeopathy-whether it would not be a gain to both parties that some understanding should be come to; and, while we cannot but acknowledge that, as regards the past, error has been committed on both sides, let us also admit that good has resulted from the conflict. As members of a profession which boasts of being liberal, and by courtesy is styled such, let us prove our title to it by our acts; and cease to hold that attitude of hostility towards the practitioners of homceopathy, which, say and think what we will, is regarded by the outside public as merely a phase of trade-unionism. The mere fact that homoeopathy still survives, spite of unceasing persecution.and ridicule. and not only survives, but flourishes, is primd facie evidence of there being something more in it than we are aware of, or are willing to admit; and many facts, bearing on the doctrine of similars, and on the potency of minute quantities, have recently been brought to light, which go to streTfgthen rather than weaken the Hahnemannian doctrine.* I think, then, the time has come when, both on ethical and scientific grounds, we should take tip the question anew; and, writh ill deference, I would submit that, if a homoeopath is properly qualified, and practises his professioh honourably and to the best of his ability, the onus rests with usto show why we should not meet him in consultation.