I graduated at a college in Canada, in 1905, as well up in every branch of the curriculum as most of 160 students who graduated with me. We listened to an address from Prof. Osler on the subject of work. We had used his practice as a text book. He was our god. A few of the more ventursome of us, had bought Burney Yeo on Therapeutics, as we realized that Osler was weak on treatment. One of our professors told us at a clinic, that he rarely used more than six or eight drugs in his entire practice. Another who gave us lectures on therapeutics confined himself to 60 drugs.
We had all spent ten hours a week, each, on pathology, microscopy and diagnosis. We had also, all spent five hours a week at the bedside of clinics, divided between medical and surgical cases. Think of it. For five hours a week we had been privileged to be one of a bunch of fifteen students that stood near to a sick person. We acquired the ability to learnedly spot a specimen of cancer under the microscope, but not one of us would know one if we saw it in the flesh.
All of us learned to remove kidneys on paper, but never a moment's instruction did we receive as to how we could remove a tooth from the aching jaw of a howling patient. Many like myself realized this utter uselessness in the presence of a sick person. We were obliged to go out and make our living with such insufficient, impractical knowledge as that. I soon realized what a fake I was. I had been told to find out the advice a person desired and give it to him. I had been told that in a case of pneumonia or typhoid we were to be the pilot steering the frail bark to a safe anchorage. Bosh! my soul cried out against such teaching.
I had just about made up my mind to go back to the hotel business where I could make an honest living, when I ran across a copy of The World. I read it. What were all these new drugs that some men were claiming could stop the frail barks in their dangerous courses. Were these men that claimed to be doing things all fakers.
I then read other liberal journals from editors who had confidence in the action of drugs and who taught us something about drugs. I then began the study of drugs in the line described by such journals as yours. Now what a change. I do not dread contending with disease any longer; on the contrary I welcome bad cases. I feel that I am of some use in a case of sickness. And above all I enjoy the practice of my dear profession. I would sooner be a practitioner of medicine without two coins to rub against one another, than a man with all kinds of money in any other business.
C. J. LOCHEAD, M. D.
Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.