Shot-Gun Prescriptions.

Selected writings of John M. Scudder.

The single remedy for direct effect was a strong point in the therapeutic philosophy of Prof. Scudder. He persistently and consistently opposed the admixture of medicines, and the following editorial shows one of his methods of attacking the custom.—Ed. Gleaner.

SHOT-GUN PRESCRIPTIONS.—Associated with "invariable prescriptions," we have those singular compounds of drugs which have been designated "shot-gun prescriptions." They are put up on the theory of chance—all drugs are uncertain, but twenty "having been found useful" in a given affection, it is much safer to combine the twenty, and give them all together, than to take the single chance of selecting the right remedy. The theory is a beautiful one, but unfortunately it does not work well in practice. One drug neutralizes another, and the combination results in a nastiness.

It has been said by quite a prominent Eclectic, that the physician may be compared to the hunter. When he goes after birds he takes a shot-gun with a handful of shot, in place of the rifle with its single ball, for with the first he may kill half the covey, whilst with the latter he would hit but a single bird. The simile is good so far as hitting the patient is concerned; the shot-gun prescription does wound the patient in many places. If in the jungles of India a man hunts a tiger, he uses a rifle, for with the single ball he has safety, the shot-gun would be death.—SCUDDER, Eclectic Medical Journal, 1877.

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