MEMORIES OF MY LIFE
able success in turning out his patients nominally cured. There is still much lack of exact knowledge of what Nature can do without assistance from medicine, if aided only by cheering influences, rest, suggestion, and good nursing.
I wish that hospitals could be turned into places for experiment more than they are, in the following perfectly humane direction. Suppose two different and competing treatments of a particular malady ; I have just mentioned a case in point. Let the patients suffering under it be given the option of being placed under Dr. A. or Dr. B., the respective representatives of the two methods, and the results be statistically compared. A co-operation without partisanship between many large hospitals ought to speedily settle doubts that now hang unnecessarily long under dispute.
Medical statistics are, however, the least suitable of any I know for refined comparisons, because the conditions that cannot be, or at all events are not' taken into account, are local, very influential, and apt to differ greatly. I t is, however, humiliating to find how much has failed to attract attention for want of even the rudest statistics. I doubt whether the unaided apprehension of man suffices to distinguish between the frequency of what occurs on an average four times in ten events and one that occurs five times. Much grosser proportions have been wholly overlooked by doctors. I referred once to many dictionaries and works of medicine published before the time of Broca, some ninety years ago, and did not find a single reference to the almost invariable loss of speech associated with paralysis of