If the periodic visit to the doctor is the first law of adult health, still more imperative is the law that competent physicians should be seen at the first indication of ill health. Even when competent physicians are at hand, parents and teachers should be taught what warning signs may mean and what steps should be taken. In Germany insurance companies find that it saves money to provide free medical and dental care for the insured. Department stores, many factories and railroads, have learned from experience that they save money by inducing their employees to consult skilled physicians at the first sign of physical disorder. Many colleges, schools, and "homes" have a resident physician. Wherever any large number of people are assembled together,—in a hotel, factory, store, ship, college, or school,—there should be an efficient consulting physician at hand. If people are needlessly alarmed, it is of the utmost importance to show them that there is nothing seriously wrong. Therefore visits to the consulting physician should be encouraged.

The reader's observation will suggest numerous illustrations of pain, prolonged sickness, loss of life, that could have been prevented had the physician been semi-annually visited. A strong man, well educated, with large income, personally acquainted with several of the foremost physicians of New York City, after suffering two weeks from pains "that would pass away," was hurriedly taken to a hospital at three o'clock in the morning, operated upon immediately, and died at nine. A business man of means put off going to a physician for fifteen years, for fear he would be told that his throat trouble was tobacco cancer, or incipient tuberculosis, or asthma; a physical examination showed that a difficulty of breathing and chronic throat trouble were due to a growth in the nose, corrected in a few minutes by operation.

A celebrated economist was forced to give up academic work, and consecrated his life to painful and chronic dyspepsia because of eye trouble detected upon the first physical examination. A woman secretary suffered from alleged heart trouble; paralysis threatened, continuous headache and blurred vision forced her to give up work and income; a physical examination found the cause in nasal growths, whose removal restored normal conditions. A woman lecturer on children's health heard described last summer a friend's experience with receding gums: "'Why, I never heard of that disease.' she said. 'Don't you know you have it yourself'? I asked. She had never noticed that her gums were growing away in little points on her front teeth. I touched the uncovered portion and she winced. That ignorance has meant intense pain and ugly fillings. If it had gone longer, it might have meant the loss of her front teeth." A teacher lost a month from nervous prostration; physical examination would have discovered the eye trouble that deranged the stomach and produced the nerve-racking shingles which forced him to take a month's vacation. A journalist lost weeks each year because of strained ankles; since being told that he had flat foot, and that the arch of his foot could be strengthened by braces and specially made shoes, he has not lost a minute. A relief visitor, ardent advocate of the fresh-air, pure-milk treatment for tuberculosis, had a "little cough" and an occasional "cold sweat"; medical friends knew this, but humored her aversion to examination; when too late, she submitted to an examination and to the treatment which, if taken earlier, would most certainly have cured her. A mother's sickness cost a wage-earning daughter nearly $3000; softening of the brain was feared; after six years of suffering and unnecessary expense, physical examination disclosed an easily removable cause, and for two years she has contributed to the family income instead of exhausting it. Untold suffering is saved many a mother by knowledge of her special physical need in advance of her baby's birth. Untold suffering might be saved many a woman in business if she could be told in what respects she was transgressing Nature's law.

New York City's Tuberculosis Sanatorium At Otisville Is Sending Home Apostles Of Semi-Annual Examinations

Boston's Picturesque Day Camp For Tuberculosis Patients Is Teaching The Need For A Periodic Inventory Of Physical Resources

To encourage periodic physical examination is not to encourage morbid thinking of disease. One reason for our tardiness in recognizing the need for thorough physical examination is the doctor's tradition of treating symptoms. After men and women are intelligent enough to demand an inventory of their physical resources,—a balance sheet of their physical assets and liabilities,—physicians will study the whole man and not the fraction of a man in which they happen to be specializing or about which the patient worries. By removing the mystery of bodily ailments and by familiarizing ourselves with the essentials to healthy living, we find protection against charlatans, quacks, faddists, and experimenters. By taking a periodic inventory of our physical resources we discharge a sacred obligation of citizenship.