"Let us take up the most hopeless case of sickness, a case incurable by its nature: the patient suffers severe, very severe pains; there is no longer any hope of effecting a cure. It is precisely here that it would be a mercy to save him from the greater suffering which necessarily follows the administration of anodynes; it is then, as ever, our duty to hold fast to “our principles.”
The administration of an anodyne for excessive pain is followed by an apparent cessation of it, to return more severe, as soon as the effect of the dose administered is exhausted. We repeat, and the pains repeat, but that is not all,—the poison does its work besides: the digestive functions are disturbed, and, worse than all, the intellect, the consciousness, the only spiritual part of the sick individual,—let us call “mind,”—becomes seriously impaired.* Is that mercy? Are we in duty bound to destroy a person’s “mind”? The true “healer,” who not only makes professions of faith but who has really comprehended and accepted the teachings of Hahnemann, never stands in need of an anodyne.
In the course of time,' every physician will find himself in attendance on an incurable case; he will find himself so situated that it becomes his imperative duty to wait on the incurably sick to the end. Here it is that the great value of Hahnemann’s teachings is fully appreciated and that a strict adherence to our fundamental principle will be followed by most satisfactory results.
The “healer” knows from past experience that the most similar remedy is also the greatest palliative. Under ordinary circumstances that similar remedy would have “cured the sick,” but if such changes of tissues have taken place that a cure is no longer possible, the palliation may last for days, the same symptoms do not return again, the progressive or destructive process manifests itself now in a different manner, and a new selection of the similar remedy must be made—diligently to be sure; relief will follow again, and the sufferings of the sadly afflicted, incurable patient are in this manner wonderfully lessened, lessened to the last moment of the earth life.
To be sure, this is a very laborious practice, requiring more frequent changes in the prescriptions as the vitality of the sick decreases, and each prescription becomes more difficult. But what of that? What are we here for? Why, we are here that we may heal the sick, that is our duty, and if we cannot heal them (make them well), to relieve their suffering; and we must spare no pains to learn to accomplish it, and earn the only reward which awaits the true healer,—the thanks of the cured, the blessings of those to whom we administer true relief."