PALLIATION OR CURE: WHAT IS THE
NEED OF THE HOUR?
Prof. Dr. G.R. Mohan
M.D (Hom) P G Dip (Env Stud) .
Dev’s Homoeopathic Medical College
Editor, Medicina Futura Homoeopathica
“Medicine cures sometimes, palliates often but comforts always”. This is the saying. It is not just a saying but a fact too. Behind this there is also another important factor that always operates and which really influences the whole process of treatment i.e. confidence of the healer in his ability and faith that is imposed by the patient.
As Homoeopaths we always aim to cure. The definition which as homoeopaths we give for cure is also different when compared to the other branches of therapeutics. We consider total restoration of health is only the criterion for health or cure. We have got different types of practitioners even though the principles of homoeopathy do not differ, the law of cure does not change. It is something like diversity in unity. By and large, two homoeopaths do not agree on one point so far as therapeutics is concerned. That is our speciality. I say it is our speciality because at the end of the day both prove to be correct. That is the beauty of Homoeopathy.
Let us analyse our day to day practice. How many patients under our care are really getting cured? How many are getting palliated? How many are just comfortable under your care? (May be due to various reasons). We, as homoeopaths consider hypocrisy as one of the qualifications for practicing homoeopathy,
we do not want the categorization as cure, palliation etc. because we have only “cures”. (There are some exceptions). Many of us feel disturbed when a patient says that he is not better. Our ego does not admit such statements from the patients. But it stimulates your thinking process and you are forced to review the case again. Then as Physicians we feel atleast we should give him some relief so that you need not hear that statement again.
Apart from the above condition there are several patients in whom we can only give
palliation rather than cure for more than one reason. Many homoeopaths especially in bigger towns and cities see around fifty patients a day. The usual ritual that is to be followed for a cure i.e. case taking, analysis, evaluation and repertorizatin etc. will take nothing short of a few hours. Even then there is no guarantee that we can select a simillimum. As such many practitioners adopt a specific approach in the treatment of patients which is almost a routine method and which helps a practitioner to dispose of
patients fast. But the results are not bad. There will be a definite palliation and some sporadic cures as well. (hypocrisy sacrificed). Even then we are doing a lot of good to the patient.
A patient suffering from Psoriasis had consulted a Dermatologist and took treatment for a couple of years. Still there are symptoms and occasional suffering. The patient asked the Doctor how long I have to continue the treatment? The Doctor said that can a patient suffering with Diabetes or Hypertension or
Thyroid ask this question? No. Because it is a disease where a life long treatment is required. Even this (Psoriasis) is like this. The patient stopped medication and consulted a Homoeopath. The homoeopath also explained the problem and told him that it is a chronic case and there are spontaneous remissions and relapses even in Homoeopathy. Further the homoeopath assured him that certain amount of relief is sure to be there and definitely there will be no side effects. The patient is convinced because during his two
years of allopathic treatment he had no substantial relief of his skin condition besides that he also developed some symptoms like anorexia, joint pains, unexplainable weakness etc. which the patient never had before have been attributed as the side effects of allopathic treatment.
There are several patients or several types of diseases in which palliation itself is a great boon to the patient; not that a cure is not possible, but it cure it may take a long time. We have to hold the patient and it is better to work or review the case again and again and find a final cure. For example take the same
Psoriasis patient, treatment with Sulphur, Sarsaparilla, Sepia, Thyroidinum, Kali sulph, Calc sulph etc. in low potencies and the patient will definitely feel better and does not have any side effects. May be finally a
dose of Tuberculinum 10m gave him a permanent relief. Several examples could be given. In a case of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) we know how much the patient suffers and many a time a patient goes into depression. (Basically a psychosomatic problem). A few doses of Aloes, Nux vomica, Sulphur, Merc sol, Pulsatilla, Kurchi etc. will give tremendous relief. The other day a patient who is a senior executive
in a MNC was telling that before starting homoeopathic treatment he was always apprehensive about bowel movement because he does not know when he will get an urge for stool and where he would be at
that point of time (being a senior executive he has to attend number of meetings in Indian and abroad also) and ever since he started homoeopathy he has developed more confidence and that fear to go out has gone.
What a wonderful compliment to homoeopathy.
Arthritis is one disease for which usually patients consult a homoeopath very often ofcourse not before trying allopathy. After a period of Allopathic treatment there is always a threat of renal parenchymal disease or in many patients after steroids some very deleterious side effects will develop and come to homoeopathy with a lot of hope. We need not worry about the pathology. The more you are concerned with pathology the more you are apprehensive about the treatment. Go ahead. You are the master. Simple Rhus tox in six centesimal gives instantaneous relief. Many remedies like Bryonia, Colchicum, Actea spicata, Phytolacca, Calc flour, mother tinctures like Guiacum, Gnaphalium etc. will generally help a patient to carry on without much discomfort. May be at a later stage a few doses of Sulphur, Calcarea carb,
Lycopodium etc. may perhaps give a total relief to the patient. A patient suffering from very severe Rheumatoid arthritis was 90% relieved with a few doses of Kali mur 30 and Hydrastis mother tinctures.
We can go on narrating several diseases and we can palliate or cure depending upon the stage of the disease.
What I am trying to emphasize is that as a Physician you have a responsibility to give comfort to the patient. You are not breaking the rule but you are only bending the rule (Dr.Siva Shankar often quotes this phrase) but your patient is happy. He does not apply leave to his office very often; does not have any side effects; life goes on. What else does he want? Not that we do not cure, but first we palliate. I am not against the conventional method. I am not against curing in tune with the Organon of Medicine. But what I am trying to put before you is the need of the hour. Let us treat as many patients as possible. Let us go into the public and cover as many families as possible and ensure that homoeopathy reaches the masses.
I am openly telling what I am doing and what is required to be done. I know many homoeopaths are doing this. But when it comes to open discussion everything will be different. I have participated in State level,
National level and several International level conferences. But I hardly came across homoeopaths who openly confessed about their failures. Sometimes we feel disgusted at the hypocrisy that is manifested.
So let us cure – palliate – but definitely we should give necessary comfort to the patient.
*** published in Medicina Future , vol 1, issue no 5 May 2013