In regard to legislation to regulate the practice of medicine, it may be well to observe that the choice of medical attendants and advisers is a matter which each man has a right to make for himself. It hardly comes within the range of subjects to be regulated by law as matters of sanitation or other things affecting public health.

The same principle applies to the theory of medicine to be followed. One person may believe in one theory and another in something very different. The decision of one may be wise and that of the other foolish. Or both may be alike unwise. Schools of medicine are matters largely of prejudice and taste. As a general proposition the person consulting a physician of a particular school knows nothing about the merits of the theory upon which the physician professes to practise his profession. Sometimes the physician himself knows but little more. So, in respect of the choice of schools and theories, it is for most persons a leap in the dark at best.

With all due respect to the medical profession, there is a great deal of guesswork about its practice. The feeling or mental condition of a patient has so much to do with the question of cure, that one doctor is often about as good as another. There is no guaranty in a diploma that the person holding it is qualified to treat diseases, much less effect a cure in a given case. But cure is the object sought by the patient, and it makes little difference to him whether it be effected in one way or in another.

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January 26, 1899

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