In the Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.) of June 26, there appears the account of the death of an eight-year-old boy as the immediate result of an operation performed on him for the removal of the tonsils, which had become enlarged. The newspaper report did not in any wise hint at lack of skill on the part of the surgeon, or of those who assisted him in the operation. It simply chronicled the facts, among which was information to the effect that the surgeon had performed the same operation several thousand times, and this was the first death that had resulted. Of this particular case the surgeon said, "The little fellow had always been well, and we had no reason to believe that the operation would result this way." On July 3 there appeared in the same paper a letter from another physician, inferentially at least of equal standing in his profession, who in commenting on this case stated that "cutting away the tonsils that are abnormally enlarged only mitigates (makes milder) the effect, and in no way removes the cause that produces the effect."

Evidently this is a case where "doctors disagree" as to what is the proper treatment to be administered for this ailment, and we need not attempt to decide between them, as it is not for this purpose, nor with the interntion of condemnation, that we have referred to the incident. We desire simply to call attention to the fact that here was a case in which the doctors do not agree as to the merits of the form of treatment adopted, nor even as to its necessity. Nevertheless, although the direct result of the operation was fatal, it made no sensational copy for the reporter, because there was no coroner's inquest, no arrest, nor even a public protest, except that another physician gently and courteously stated in effect that he did not believe in a resort to the knife in such cases. In view of all this, may we not with entire propriety ask what would have happened had this boy been under Christian Science treatment at the time of his death. Is it not true that the only reason that such cases pass without more than casual comment is, as Mrs. Eddy long since pointed out, that "the schools have rendered faith in drugs the fashion, rather than faith in Deity. By trusting matter to destroy its own discord, health and harmony have been sacrificed" (Science and Health, p. 146). Would the explanation given by the doctor have been so readily accepted had it been offered by a Christian Science practitioner?

The apostle Peter said, "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you," and Christian Science have ample warrant for the faith which is in them in the example of Christ Jesus, the neither administered drugs nor resorted to surgery for the marvelous cures which he performed; and in following his example they are not only within their rights as men and citizens, but also upon a much safer basis than are those who depend upon drugs or the knife. The parents of this boy pursued the course they believed best adapted to give him relief. Suppose, on the opinion of this other reputable physician that the operation was unnecessary, they had been deemed accessories to the child's death and the horror and anguish of an arrest and trial had been added to their grief: would not public sentiment have promptly acquitted them of being actuated by any other than the best of motives in subjecting their child to an operation?

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July 19, 1913

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