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Preface to Obstetrics.

Selected writings of John King.

This article is self-explanatory and is selected from the preface of Dr. John King's popular work. The American Eclectic Obstetrics, chiefly to note the introduction of the newer remedial agents into obstetric practice. The difference between Eclectic and old school obstetrics lay in the wider therapy of the former. Most of the remedial agents named have now found their way into regular obstetrical literature; too often, we regret to say, without proper credit as to the source of their introduction into medicine. While strongly Eclectic in the best sense. Dr. King shows his fairness and liberality toward all who truly contribute to the good of medicine, and as was always his method while presenting his own side of a subject, he was never discourteous or abusive toward those who differed with him or the school he represented.—Ed. Gleaner.

PREFACE TO OBSTETRICS.—In American Eclectic Practice, the mechanical management of obstetrical cases varies but little, if any, from that advocated and pursued by the profession generally; but a very marked distinction may be observed in the collateral treatment, which was for the first time presented in a published form in the first edition of this work, and in which several new agents were introduced, not previously recognized in obstetrical practice. For the last thirty-two years the writer has been more or less actively engaged in the practice of his profession, and has made extensive and successful employment of the several measures made known in the present volume; and from the results of careful experience and close observation he feels fully justified in recommending these measures as safe, successful, and superior to any other means yet offered to the medical world—and which have received the commendation of every practitioner who has given them a fair and unprejudiced trial.

The introduction of Lobelia, Gelseminum, Cimicifuga, Caulophyllum, Aletris, Helonias, Asclepias, and various other agents, together with their compounds and concentrated preparations, into the Practice of Midwifery and Diseases of Females, by American Eclecticism, has proved to be an important addition to the remedies previously known and recognized by the profession, as, through their means, the sufferings of the sex are prevented to a greater degree than has ever been accomplished heretofore by any class of practitioners, and the various ailments peculiar to them are more readily and permanently removed. The several medicines and compound preparations herein referred to, and particularly those which are not commonly met with in the medical works of the day, belong to the Materia Medica of American Eclectics, a description of which, together with their virtues and modes of preparation, may be found in the new edition of the American Dispensatory, recently published by the Author.

Yet it is not in accordance with Eclectic precepts and teachings to assume an arbitrary authority in any matters connected with the science of medicine; it is the right—it is the imperative duty of every physician to thoroughly and impartially investigate every subject connected with his profession, no matter by whom presented; he can not, with any degree of justification, attach his medical faith to the sleeves of any man—he alone is responsible for the health and lives of his patients—and, after a fair examination of medical matters, it is equally his right and duty to pursue those views and measures which he has decided to be correct, carefully avoiding, however, every means which past experience has demonstrated to be injurious and deleterious to the human system. This is American Eclecticism, and that physician only, who rigidly and honorably follows this plan, no matter in what school he may have graduated, is the true American Eclectic. Therefore, while not desiring to authoritatively force any partial or sectarian views and treatment of Midwifery upon the profession, the Author sincerely hopes that sufficient credence will be accorded to the statements herein given as to induce others to test and avail themselves of the remedies and treatment which, in his estimation, are un-equaled by any others known.

In presenting this work as an illustration of the American Eclectic System of Practice, and in the references to the difference between the Eclectic and Old School treatment, the Author hopes that he will not be misunderstood by the intelligent reader. The use of these distinctive terms has been rendered necessary by the existing differences in the courses of practice taught in different schools; but it has not been his intention to refer to these different modes of practice as belonging to radically distinct and independent systems of medical science. If the progressive spirit of American physicians has led them to the discovery and adoption of many new and important improvements, they have not become so infatuated with the value and superiority of their new contributions as to have neglected the careful preservation of the great mass of well-established medical science, accumulated by the labors of European physicians. Like all enlightened and liberal physicians, they aim simply to improve their knowledge and advance the profession in those directions in which progress is most evidently necessary, without losing their sympathy and communication with all true cultivators of the science, and without desiring to be distinguished from the mass of the profession, except by greater diligence or success in following the instructions of Clinical experience, and acquiring a more enlarged and accurate knowledge of the therapeutic powers and pharmaceutic preparations of an extensive Materia Medica. For our success in the introduction of clinic and therapeutic improvements, we are mainly indebted to an Eclectic spirit of liberality, which has discarded the formal routine of authority for a free investigation of nature, and adherence to the results of the most recent clinical experience. The universal satisfaction with which these improvements have been received, satisfies us that ere long they will have the unanimous sanction of the entire Medical Profession, since they are already, so far as known and tested, cordially approved of by enlightened physicians, whatever may have been their previous doctrines or impressions.—J. KING., Preface to American Obstetrics.


The Biographies of King, Howe, and Scudder, 1912, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M. D.



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