This section is from the "Nature Cure: Philosophy and Practice Based on the Unity of Disease and Cure" book, by Henry Lindlahr.
Frequently we have been severely criticised by our friends, our coworkers or our patients for accepting certain seemingly hopeless chronic cases. They exclaim:
"You know this man has locomotor ataxy and that woman is an epileptic: you certainly do not expect to cure them," or, "Doctor, don't you think it injures the institution to have that dreadful-looking person around? He is nothing but skin and bones and surely cannot live much longer."
Sometimes open criticism and covert insinuation intimate that our reasons for taking in incurables are mercenary.
If we should dismiss today those of our patients who, from the orthodox and popular point of view, are considered incurable, there would not remain ten out of a hundred; and yet our total failures are few and far between. Many such seemingly hopeless cases have come for treatment month after month, in several instances for a year or more, apparently without any marked advance; yet today they are in the best of health.
Yes, it is hard work and frequently thankless work to deal with these patients. It would be much easier, much more remunerative and would bring more glory to confine ourselves to the treatment of acute diseases, for it is there that Nature Cure works its most impressive miracles. On the other hand, to achieve the seemingly impossible, to prove what Nature Cure can accomplish in the most stubborn chronic cases, sustains our courage and is its own compensation.
The word chronic in the vocabulary of the "Old School" of medicine is synonymous with "incurable." This is not strange; since the medical and surgical symptomatic treatment of acute diseases creates the chronic conditions, it certainly cannot be expected to cure them. If, by continued suppression, Nature's cleansing and healing efforts have been perverted into chronic disease conditions, the following directions are given in the regular works on medical practice:
"When this disease reaches the chronic stage, you can no longer cure it. You may advise the patient to change climate or occupation. As for medication, treat the symptoms as they arise."
We know that the symptoms are Nature's healing efforts; when these are promptly treated, that is, suppressed, it is not surprising that the chronic does not recover. In fact, it is the treatment which makes him and keeps him a chronic.