The Effects of Doubt

I wonder if the doubting doctor who never feels sure of his results and has no confidence in the action of drugs, realizes that his doubts do his patients a great deal of harm. They sometimes do serious harm.

The statement has gone the rounds of the secular and medical press, quoted from a prominent Chicago physician, that medicine has no effect in pneumonia, and that from twenty-five to forty per cent of the patients must die.

Any intelligent physician can realize in a moment what an effect that statement would have upon the mind of the patient. If the doctor has no confidence in his medicine, the patient has none either, nor has he any confidence in the doctor.

If a patient reading the above statement in the morning paper should be told at night that he had an attack of pneumonia, there are chances in some cases that the patient would at once give up in despair, and his despair would render any doctor's measures ineffectual.

The time is at hand when every doctor must acquire a knowledge of those measures which fill him with confidence. He thus becomes in himself a source of help to his patient. Furthermore, if a man does not have faith in his drugs, he will administer them in a careless manner and not in the form in which he could obtain the best results.

Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.