The Medical Advance volume xix, 1887.
The Women’s Homoeopathic Hospital Association of Pennsylvania is at present attracting considerable attention in the medical circles of the City of Brotherly Love , on account of the attempt of the Board of Managers to enforce the rules of the Hospital, which exclude the use of crude drugs as palliatives. The objectionable rules are the following:
“No medicines, except strictly homoeopathic potentized remedies, shall be allowed for use in the dispensaries or in any department of the Hospital. The use of alcoholic liquors in any form will not be allowed in the dispensary or any department of the Hospital”.
In 1884 Mr. Charles Beed very generously gave $40,000 for the erection of a homoeopathic hospital for women, and on October 15,1884,the cornerstone was laid, the late Dr. H.N.Guernsey delivering the address. In this address he voices not only his own sentiments and convictions, but the wishes of the generous donor as well, that this was to be strictly a homoeopathic hospital, and these rules were formulated accordingly. Yet, in spite of these regulations, the rules were violated, and when remonstrated with by the President of the Board eight of the nine lady physicians resigned in a body, and their resignations were promptly accepted. The reason given for this action was “Interference with professional opinion by the lay members of the Board.”
After the resignation an overhauling of the closets and out-of-the-way corners revealed vials of castor oil, carbolic acid, quinine pills, ergotine pills, morphia, one-sixteenth grain pills and a bottle of pills compounded of belladonna, strychnia, quinine and hyoscyamus. We think it time these physicians resigned, if this is what they were palming off in a homoeopathic hospital as Homoeopathy.
One of our esteemed contemporaries, in commenting on this action, assumes that the Board being presumably ignorant of what constitutes Homoeopathy, may be excused. Oh, no, not for that reason! We had the pleasure, a few weeks ago, of a personal interview with several of these ladies, and we found them very far from ignorant of what constitutes Homoeopathy. So far from being ignorant, if the Professors of Materia Medica and Practice in some of our homoeopathic colleges understood the philosophy of the science as well, very few of their students would go forth armed with the hypodermic syringe. We wish every homoeopathic physician in the land could distinguish the genuine from the spurious as quickly as some of the members of the Board, and for one, we render them our grateful thanks for their decisive action. Would to God that morphine and all other palliative drugs were banished from every homoeopathic hospital in the country. This may not be a “shot that will ring round the world,” but it is a grand step in the direction of right, of justice, and of truth that will not soon be forgotten.
Editor’s note: Homeopathic Medical Schools were the first to admit women. Conventional doctors often tried to cast homeopathic doctors in a poor light with gendered rhetoric, e.g. homeopathic dosing practices were characterized as “gentle,” “indecisive,” and “effeminate.”