(May 17, 1913 – August 27, 2007)
The Swiss activist was the father of the new scientific antivivisection movement and author of the groundbreaking booksproving vivisection a scientific fraud.
A Brief History of Medicine
(From Slaughter of the Innocent by H. Ruesch)
“Formerly it was the lie under the guise of religion that deceived mankind; now it is the same lie under the guise of science that is deceiving the whole world, and there is no weapon against it other than reason – reason teaches us that the true healing of diseases and the maintenance of health consists in freeing the body of impurities and keeping it clean.”
Hippocrates is considered the greatest physician of antiquity and some consider him the greatest of modern times as well. Ever stronger currents today point toward a return to Hippocratic principles and wisdom, which Greece had probably adopted and from Persia and India, where medical art and surgical science had always been very advanced.
Hippocrates lived in the 5th Century B.C., and all historians agree that he taught validly concerning epidemics, fever, epilepsy, fractures, the difference between malignant and benign tumours, health in general, and most of all the importance of hygiene, the healing power of food and the need for high ethical values in the practice of medicine. A great clinician, he would observe the patient attentatively and then help him to be cured by vis suprema guaritrix : Nature, the Supreme Healer. He laid utmost stress on hygiene and diet, but used herbal remedies and surgery when necessary.
Actually, the only sure knowledge that we have of him is that he lived, for he is mentioned by Plato. His own writings have not been preserved. Nevertheless, various publishers have in recent years published Hippocrates’ Works, all apocryphal.
Henry E. Sigerist, the Swiss who held the Chair of the History of Medicine at the Universities of Leipzig and Johns Hopkins, and whom many consider the outstanding medical historian of our time, describes Hippocrates’ medical philosophy thus:
“Nature heals. The doctor’s task consists in strengthening the natural healing powers, to direct them, and especially not to interfere with them. The dietetic treatment is the best. Through the food the power regenerates itself. Hippocratic dietetics reached a level that to our day merit our great admiration.” ( Grosse Aerzte , 6th Edition, Lehman,
In another of his medical works, Krankheit und Zivilisation (A.Metzner, Frankfurt, 1952, p. 237) Sigerist states: “The dietetical prescriptions which the Hippocratic doctors elaborated for their patients are the same that are being prescribed today.”
Not much reasoning power is needed to understand that the same diet that helps to restore a patient’s health will also keep a healthy person physically sound – today no less than in Hippocrates’ day.
But only today do we fully realize how valuable Hippocrates’ teachings were, based solely on his clinical observation and true medical intuition. So we know from operations and autopsies that a liver which has been ruined and scarified by wrong alimentary habits can regenerate itself completely – provided the damage is not too great – in a comparatively short time (1-2 years) of proper diet, whereas the intake of “little liver pills” is bound to worsen the condition, poisoning the organism still further. When today a drug-swallowing hepatic patient recovers, it is in spite of the drugs, if luckily they are ineffective, and not because of them.
Historian Sigerist, having been formed at the conventional medical schools of France, Switzerland and the U.S., was not an antivivisectionist, so he can hardly be suspected of antivivisectionist bias when he wrote of the man he regarded as the greatest doctor of our time, Germany’s doctor August Bier, the inventor of lumbar anaesthesia:
“After 1920, Bier turned his back entirely on individual experimentation. To his mind it is a mistake to believe that today’s medical art has reached a higher level than ever before, and he called for the establishment of a completely new medical system. The true medical art has declined, having been overshadowed by laboratory research. The sense and understanding of the whole has been lost, the result of experiments is being extrapolated to man without any critical sense…frog and rabbit say nothing…Medicine is lucky to have in Hippocrates a great paradigm. We must return to a true medical concept, to the “clinical outlook”. (Grosse Aerzte, p.436)
The March 20, 1904, Paris edition of the New York Herald Tribune brought opinions of dozens of well-known doctors, all antivivisectionists, including the following of a Dr. Salinas: “Hippocrates never vivisected, and yet he raised medical art to a level from which we are very far today, in spite of the alleged great modern discoveries.”
All historians have ascribed to Hippocrates a very high ethical sense, which is irreconcilable with vivisectionist practices. It is not by coincidence that the physician’s oath bears Hippocrates’ name and not Galen’s.
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