The discoverers of anesthetics are classed
among the greatest benefactors of humanity, because it is believed
that ether, chloroform, cocaine and similar nerve-paralyzing agents
have greatly lessened the sum of human suffering. I doubt, however,
that this is true.
Anesthetics have made surgery technically
easy and have done away with the pain caused directly by the incisions;
but on the other hand, these marvelous effects of pain-killing
drugs have encouraged indiscriminate and unnecessary operations
to such an extent that at least nine-tenths of all the surgical
operations performed today are uncalled for. In most instances
these ill-advised mutilations are followed by lifelong weakness
and suffering, which far outweigh the temporary pains formerly
endured when unavoidable operations were performed without the
use of anesthesia.
We do not wish to be understood as condemning
unqualifiedly any and all surgical interventions in the treatment
of human ailments. An operation may occasionally be absolutely
necessary as a means of saving life. Surgery is also indicated
in cases of injury, such as wounds or fractured bones, in certain
obstetrical complications and in other affections of a purely
In all such cases anesthetics prevent
much suffering which cannot be avoided in any other way. But anyone
who has had an opportunity to watch the prolonged misery of the
victims of un-called-for operations will not doubt that anesthesia
has been a two-edged sword which has inflicted many more wounds
than it has healed.
Many physicians have recognized more or
less distinctly the uselessness and harmfulness of "Old School"
medical treatment. Dissatisfied and disgusted with old-fashioned
drugging, they turn to surgery, convinced that in it they possess
an exact scientific method of curing ailments.
They seem to think that the surest way to cure a diseased organ
is to remove it with the knife--fine reasoning for school boys,
but not worthy of men of science.
I, for my part, cannot understand how
an organ can be cured after it has been extirpated and, preserved
in alcohol, adorns the specimen cabinet of the surgeon.
Destruction or Cure--Which Is Better?
"But," the surgeon says, "we
do not remove organs from the body unless they have become useless."
However, this claim is not borne out by
actual facts. During the past ten years thousands of patients
have come under our treatment,both in the sanitarium and in the
downtown offices, whose family physicians had declared that in
order to save their lives they must submit to the knife without
delay. With very few exceptions these people were cured by us
without using a poisonous drug, an antiseptic or a knife.
Several women who, years ago, were confronted
with removal of the ovaries, are today the joyful mothers of children.
Many of our former patients, who were treated by "Old School"
physicians for acute or chronic appendicitis and were strongly
urged to have the offending organ removed, are today alive and
well and still in possession of their vermiform appendices. Other
patients were threatened with operations for kidney, gall and
bladder stones; fibroid and other tumors; floating kidneys; stomach
troubles; intestinal and uterine disorders, not to mention the
multitude of children whose tonsils and adenoids were to have
been removed. All of these onetime surgical cases have escaped
the knife and are doing very well indeed with their bodies intact
and in possession of the full quota of organs given them by Nature.
Is it not better to cure a
diseased organ than to remove it? Nature Cure
proves every day that the better way is at the same time the easiest
Thousands of men and women operated upon
for some local ailment which could have been cured easily by natural
methods of treatment are condemned by these inexcusable mutilations
to lifelong suffering. Many, if not actually suffering pain, have
been unnecessarily unsexed and in other ways incapacitated for
the normal functions and natural enjoyments of life.
Cases of this kind are the most pitiable
of all that come under our observation. When we learn that a major
operation has been performed upon a consultant, our barometer
of hope drops considerably. We know from much experience that
the mutilation of the human organism has a tendency to lessen
the chances of recovery; such patients are nearly always lacking
in recuperative power.
A body deprived of important parts or
organs is forever unbalanced. It is like a watch with a spring
or a wheel taken out; it may run, but never quite right; it is
hypersensitive and easily thrown out of balance by any adverse
The Human Body Is a Unit
We are realizing more and more that the
human body is a homogeneous and harmonious whole, and that we
cannot injure one part of it without damaging other parts and
often the entire organism. Cutting in the vital organs means cutting
in the brain. It affects the functions of the nervous system most
A physician in Vienna has written a very
interesting book in which he shows that the inner membranes of
the nose are in close relationship and sympathy with distant parts
and organs of the body. He located in the nose one small area
which corresponds to the lungs. By irritating this area with an
electric needle he could provoke asthmatic attacks in patients
subject to this disease. By anesthetizing the same area he could
stop immediately severe attacks of asthma and of coughing. Another
area in the nasal cavity corresponds to the genital organs. The
doctor proved that by electric irritation applied to this area
abortions could be produced, and that by anesthesia of the same
area in the nose, uterine hemorrhages could be stopped.
These and many other facts of experience
throw a wonderful light upon the unity of the human organism.
The body resembles a watch. You cannot injure one part of it without
affecting its entire mechanism.
The evil aftereffects of surgical operations
do not always manifest at once. On the contrary, the surgical
treatment is frequently followed by a period of seeming improvement.
The troublesome local symptoms have been removed, and aftereffects
of the mutilation have not had time to assert themselves. But
sooner or later the old symptoms return in aggravated form, or
a new set of complications arises. The patient is made to believe
that the first operation was a perfect success and that this latest
crop of difficulties has nothing to do with the former, but is
something entirely new. At other times he is assured that the
first operation did not go deep enough, that it failed to reach
the seat of the trouble and must be done over again.
And so the work of mutilation goes merrily
on. The disease poisons in the body set up one center of inflammation
after another. These centers the surgeon promptly removes; but
the real disease, the venereal, psoriatic or scrofulous taint,
the uric or oxalic acid, the poisonous alkaloids and ptomaines
affecting every cell and every drop of blood in the body, these
elude the surgeon's knife and create new ulcers, abscesses, inflammations,
stones, cancers, etc., as fast as the old ones are extirpated.
Those who have studied the previous chapters
carefully will readily comprehend these facts. They will know
that acute and subacute conditions represent Nature's cleansing
and healing efforts, and that local suppression by drug or knife
only serves to turn Nature's corrective and purifying activities
into chronic disease.
The highest art of the true physician
is to preserve and to restore, not to mutilate or destroy.