“Beware of Belladonna, it can diminish your memory”, say press reports.
(Article published in the souvenir released during Kent Memorial Lectures-2009, organized by South Delhi Homoeopathic Association)
First of all hearty congratulations to the Ministry of health (India) for the wise decision to make Continuing Medical Education (CME) compulsory for practitioners of all systems including Homoeopathy. As per this rule, every doctor should attend specified hours of CME classes for the renewal of registration in the respective state medical councils. This compels everyone to attend the CME classes so that each practitioner will have an up-to-date knowledge of current medical trends and newly emerging diseases. Though the principles of homoeopathy are stable, we should be in touch with the new additions in our system because each day new drugs are proved, new clinical data is added, new schools of thought are emerging and many stalwarts explain homoeopathy in their own viewpoint. Hence we homoeopaths should not limit ourselves within the walls of our clinics, without keeping any contact with the external world. Seminars and workshops can definitely enhance our confidence level and enrich our knowledge. By interacting with others, we can get rid of our misconceptions and can also get appropriate tips to handle difficult cases.
True that seminars are must but it has to be noted that most of the seminars are on cured cases that highlights the positive results we get in our day-to-day practice. Of course this will help to enhance the confidence level of the viewers, especially the beginners. But sadly, there is no platform to discuss our failures. Discussion on failures is of vital importance because when homoeopaths fail to treat cases, people blindly come to a conclusion that homoeopathy failed to cure them and they take resort to other systems. They never think that it was the doctor who made the mistake, and fault is not with homoeopathy. Everyone commits mistakes in case management, but what is relevant is the lesson we learn from our mistakes and how they can be solved or at least prevented in future. By discussing our failures and limitations, we can find methods to tackle them in future.
A few years back, I got a chance to attend a seminar taken by a homoeopath from a famous school. It highlighted the hazards of using specific drugs injudiciously. He cited the case of a child suffering from tonsillitis who was treated with frequent doses of Belladonna as a favorite drug for tonsillitis. The child got immediate relief from his presenting complaints, which made his parents relieved. But the doctor was not happy because within a few days the child became very inactive and dull in his studies. Here the cure took place in the opposite direction. The above case presentation impressed the delegates. But there were some press reporters from a famous English Newspaper, who made a wrong interpretation of the above presentation and utilized this “golden chance” to defame homoeopathy. The very next day a report was given in the same newspaper titled “Homoeopathic medicines like belladonna can make children dull in studies”. Parents who read the hot news rushed to our clinics and cautioned us not to prescribe the “memory killer” Belladonna and such other drugs for their children. What a wrong interpretation!! That doctor had a good intention to make us understand the ill effects of non-homoeopathic application of potentized drugs but the cynical media reporters misinterpreted the above case presentation to slander homoeopathy. Fearing such consequences, we usually do not disclose our failures in public. The best solution is to arrange monthly clinical meetings in each locality where difficult cases can be discussed between doctors so that we will find out the mistake we made in a particular case.
Every month we should go through our case papers and make a list of difficult or failed cases and such cases should be presented in the meetings. Local meetings can also minimize unhealthy competition between doctors practicing in the same area. We will also get an opportunity to discuss about climatic remedies of the area and the selection of genus epidemicus during the outbreak of epidemics. Please remember that even for giving preventive medicines during epidemics we give specific drugs. It will definitely land up in failure. The genus epidemicus should be selected in each area by studying the symptoms of already diagnosed cases. To achieve this goal, doctors in each area should come under a common platform.
Knowledge can be compared with water. When water gets stagnated it becomes polluted easily whereas flowing water is relatively safe for consumption. Similarly, our knowledge will become perverted if we keep it as a secret without sharing with anyone. On the other hand, sharing knowledge with others can enrich it and often we get some new ideas from others.
We refer cases to the specialists whenever we face a diagnostic dilemma or any kind of difficulty in the management of a case. At the same time, most of us never refer cases to other homoeopaths. Remember, in order to get a cure we need to go through some steps like case taking, evaluation, repertorisation, selection of similimum, selection of potency and dose, general management, advices etc. If any one of the above steps is not done properly, we may end up in failure. One doctor may notice a noteworthy point missed by another. Therefore difficult cases should be referred among Homoeopaths.
Here are some reasons for our failures:
Lack of confidence
Wrong understanding of Organon and Materia Medica
Wrong way of case taking
Wrong interpretation of symptoms
Asking questions on the line of a drug
Wrong rubric selection
Overfilling the computer with common symptoms
Wrong method of repertorisation
No clinical examination
No disease diagnosis
No laboratory tests whenever required
Failure in remedial diagnosis
Prescribing on past “experience”
Giving homoeopathic medicine on the basis of allopathy
Frequent repetition of seemingly indicated drugs
Multiple prescriptions or mixing of several drugs
Wrong follow up of the case
Untimely change of medicine or potency
No intercurrents or anti miasmatic drugs whenever needed
No consideration of drug relationship
Over importance to thermals and thirst
Simultaneous prescription for acute and chronic complaints
Prescribe as per patients order
Failure in general management
No advice, no positive suggestions, no explanation, no diet or other restrictions.
No consideration of nutrition
Failure to handle emergencies
No knowledge in auxiliary methods
No reference of difficult cases to other homoeopaths
No discussion on failed cases
Unhealthy competition between doctors or schools
No sharing of knowledge with others
No seminars, no habit of reading books and magazines
For an Allopathic doctor, the choice of medicines is less, whereas we come across several seemingly indicated drugs from which the similimum has to be selected in suitable potency and dose. Hence a chance for the wrong selection of medicine is more with us. Of course it is not a drawback of homoeopathy but it emphasizes the need for correct observation, logical thinking and a high level of accuracy along with utmost sincerity and dedication. To achieve this goal, we need to work hard without deviating from our principles.
Dr Muhammed Rafeeque, BHMS
Family Homoeopathic Clinic