Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/551

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
535
THE SCHOOLS OF MEDICINE.

that not a thread can be broken, not an individual can suffer, without the general mechanism being informed of the accident, affected by it, and forced to repair the damage as much as possible. This is the ideal which philanthropy is pursuing, and which it will approach more closely as it becomes more scientific in its method, without ceasing to be also generous in its inspirations.—Translated from the Revue des Deux Mondes.

[Concluded.]

 

THE SCHOOLS OF MEDICINE.
By R. O. BEARD, M. D.

NOTHING is so popular as prejudice, and no prejudice so popular as that resting upon a supposed scientific basis, or backed by reputed scientific authority. Always obstructive to the spirit of progress, it is peculiarly so when related to a subject so closely concerning the interest of the people as the study and treatment of disease. In these physically degenerate days the avoidance or remedy of the thousand "ills which flesh is heir to" is a question of well-nigh universal import. The urgency of this common need offers a partial reason for the adoption and perpetuation, by the public mind, of the differences which are supposed to exist between the two great schools of medicine; while, at the same time, it measures the greatness of the misfortune of the fact.

Rooted in the professional ignorance and bigotry of almost a century ago, fostered by the bitter rivalries and exclusivism of opposing theorists, these differences have been taken up and fed by popular opinion, until they seriously embarrass the progress of medical knowledge, and tend to destroy all faith in the science and art of healing.

The medical fraternity at large, and of both schools alike, is responsible for this unfortunate condition of affairs. When professional men, who, supposably, represent the best phases of liberal thought and scientific culture, lend their names to the partisanship of mere theory, and array themselves under sectarian titles which signify their adherence to an exclusive dogma, it is small wonder that the laity should follow in their footsteps, and cast their views into the yet narrower mold of unreasoning prejudice.

And, as professional hands have sown this seed of error, it is they who must gather its barren harvest, and uproot the tares of false opinion from the popular mind.

The recent agitation within the ranks of the one school of medicine, of the question of establishing consulting relations with duly qualified members of the other, presents a good opportunity of offer-