Post-mortems are held for the purpose of discovering the cause of death, and the cause is found. It may be an organic change of the heart, liver, lungs, or some other organ. Suppose an abscess is found in the liver, spleen, pleura, or elsewhere; suppose apoplexy is found; without doubt a reasonable cause for death has been discovered. But what light has been shed on the real cause of disease?

None whatever. Post-mortern revelations are as silent on the subject of ancestry as they are on the cause or causes of disease.

To find an abscess of the liver or spleen may account for death, but the very important knowledge of what caused the abscess, or what caused the cause of the abscess, is not found. On knowledge of morbid processes that would help the living to shun a like fate, all post-mortems are as silent as death--except in deaths from injury, and in those cases only the cause of death is found; the dead tell no tales regarding the cause or causes bringing about the accident.

How is anyone who has not studied the history of morbid processes to know that a slight injury to the neck of the womb twenty years ago is one cause of cancer today? Or that the habit of drinking hot coffee twenty years ago caused chronic inflammation of the stomach that ends today in cancer of the stomach?

After having gained the knowledge that injuries, such as related above, are the cause of a fatal disease twenty years or more afterward, it is rather confusing to be confronted with the truth that only a few of those who have suffered a like cause have also suffered a like effect. Hence there must be collateral causes which are not considered, and without which the true causes and effects leading to the final fatal effect remain speculative. The profession moves in a diagnostic circle of misapprehension, always coming back to the starting point with no more true knowledge of cause than at the start.

So very obscure are the real causes of disease that it is not strange that nearly all professional men willingly disregard anything pertaining to disease except the symptoms which palpably present.