Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 20-January-2012, Vol 125 No 1348
Quackery with impunity
(But is this law? Ay, marry, is't.—Hamlet.)
Published in NZMJ 1911 May;10(38):1.
A lady in the prime of life consulted a Wellington doctor about two years ago and was advised to undergo an operation for the removal of a fibroid tumour about the size of a hen’s egg. Neglecting this advice, she took a long course of treatment from a company that agreed to remove the tumour by “rational means without operation.” At great cost, she bought their medicaments, and the chief part of the treatment was the use of so-called pastilles, which caused a daily discharge of blood, clot and eschar.
With gladness the poor creature preserved in glass jars these materials, and was repeatedly assured by the company that what she had collected was the tumour coming away. She became ghastly anaemic and faint, and finally could not leave her bed, and then she sent for the doctor who had seen her previously. He found the tumour was the size of a football! The patient died of anaemia and heart failure, or more plainly, her life was vilely cast away through the improper treatment of quacks, who batten on helpless suffering women.
Each of this tribe of infamous charlatans deserves the curse that fell on Shylock—“O be thou damn'd, inexorable dog...for thy desires are wolfish, bloody, starv'd and ravenous.”
The Law cannot raise the dead, but can it not protect the living? Oh, that those who have authority would hoist Lord Nelson”s favorite battle-signal—“Engage the enemy more closely!” They are but half-hearted in the struggle.
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