Christian Scientists concede to physicians the right to...

Tampa Tribune

Christian Scientists concede to physicians the right to control themselves and to minister to all those desiring their services, but physicians have neither an inherent nor a legislative right to compel any one to submit to their theories of medication, which are as unstable and changing as the color of a chameleon. To illustrate: I was for a number of years a registered pharmacist, learned and licensed in the arts of the profession. It is now a little over ten years since I was engaged in the drug business. In this short space of time the pharmacopœia has so changed that I am no longer qualified to practice pharmacy as a result of these changes, although I hold licenses in several states, including Florida, which state on their face that I was at the time a duly qualified pharmacist. It does not take a very learned man to recognize the fallacy of these "cock-sure" curatives, which are termed specifics to-day and are in the scrap heap to-morrow.

In April, 1920, the Supreme Court of Florida handed down an opinion in the case entitled, "Bradley vs. State of Florida," in which the court decides that medical treatment is not compulsory. The following is the concurring opinion written by Chief Justice Brown: "The all-important question is, Must a parent call a physician every time his child is sick, or risk being adjudged guilty of manslaughter if the child should die? If not, who is to decide when the child is sick enough to place upon the father the obligation to call a physician? Is it the father, or the neighbors, or must the father call a physician to ascertain if the child needs a physician? Has the practice of medicine become an exact science, so that after death human testimony can establish beyond a reasonable doubt that if the physician had been called the child would not have died? Does the duty of a parent to call a physician attach where a child is afflicted with a necessary fatal aliment, such as consumption, and continue until death occurs? Can the law fix what class of aliments a child must be suffering from before the failure to call a physician becomes culpable negligence, so that if death ensues in one it is manslaughter and in another class it is not? Shall a parent who belongs to that exemplary band of Christians who have no faith in the efficacy of medicine as a curative agency, be convicted of manslaughter because he fails to call a physician to attend a sick child that subsequently dies? Until the practice of medicine becomes an exact science, so that it can be established beyond the peradventure of a doubt that death would not have ensued if a physician had been in attendance, I think the answer to all these questions must be an unqualified 'No.' "

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