For some hundred years or more, there has been a pretty uniform agreement in the statement, so frequently repeated— "there are no specifics in medicine." To have a good reputation for professional acquirements and standing, this was a fundamental article of belief. Whatever might be the certainty in Anatomy, Physiology, Chemistry, and the arts of the Obstetrician and Surgeon, it was essential to believe that the practice of medicine was a great uncertainty. That it was a great uncertainty, as commonly followed, we are well assured. The records of disease, the mortality tables, and the resultant lesions from the mal-administration of medicines, abundantly testify to this. This stands confessed in the writings of the most prominent men in the medical profession today, who unite in deprecating the use of the older treatment of disease, and the greater safety of the expectant plan—which is really diet and rest. Must we give up medicine entirely? Are there no agencies opposed to processes of disease, that we can employ with certainty? These are the questions of the day, and in answering them, we will decide either for no medicine, or for specific medication. To determine which of these shall he chosen, the reader will have to refer to his own experience of the action of medicines, and be guided by it. All will admit the uncertainty of medicine, as now used, but no one will be willing to confess that he really knows nothing in therapeutics. I think it will be safe to assert that every practitioner will have the knowledge of some antagonism of medicine to disease, that is clear, definite and uniform. If he has but one such, it is positive proof there are others, and the evidence that direct or specific medication is a possibility. Specific medication requires specific diagnosis. We do not propose to teach that single remedies are opposed to diseases according to our present nosology. These consist of an association of functional and structural lesions, varying in degree and combination at different times, very rarely the same in any two cases. To prescribe remedies rationally, we are required to analyze the disease and separate it into its component elements, and for these we select the appropriate remedy.

 

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Specific Medication and Specific Medicines John M Scudder, MD

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