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 influence.
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 profoundly.
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.