[1935] The Medical Voodoo


CHAPTER 13: Medical Voodoo and the PUBLIC HEALTH

[Soil and Health Library]
Hale, Annie Riley. The Medical Voodoo. New York: Gotham House, 1936.

Dr. Tennison Deane of San Francisco, in his Crime of Vaccination, tells a remarkable story illustrative of this truth.
    Dr. Deane relates that he was summering in Northern California in the late 80's, near a wealthy ranchman who lived with his wife and seven children on a 10,000-acre ranch in a salubrious pine region, 15 miles from the nearest town and having no adjacent neighbors. With him on the ranch at that time was a negro foreman who also had a wife and five children. Until Dr. Deane appeared on the scene, none of these 16 persons—white nor black—had ever been vaccinated.
    As a zealous young practitioner, very close to his medical school traditions, Dr. Deane quickly warned these ranch-dwellers of their "unprotected" state and was able to persuade six of the sixteen—the farmer's wife and three children, the negro foreman and his 12-year-old son—to submit to the vaccinating operation. "A year later," writes Dr. Deane, "an epidemic of sore throats broke out in this ranch colony which developed into diphtheria in four of the vaccinated,
among them the farmer's wife, and one child died. The unvaccinated recovered rapidly from their sore throats, but the farmer's wife was paralyzed for a year and eleven years later died of cancer."
    It seems that the San Francisco physician was so impressed by this unexpected turn of his well-intentioned vaccinating zeal, that he not only kept tab on the subsequent history of the two families on the northern ranch, but watched the connection between vaccination and other maladies occurring in his general practice. He learned that the other four persons whom he had vaccinated on the ranch all died either of tuberculosis or cancer within four to twenty-two years from the date of vaccination, while none of the unvaccinated in either family died within that period except the white farmer who, he says, "died of old age."
    Dr. Deane relates that for many years after this early experience with vaccination on the Northern California ranch, when a patient came to him with any serious throat, bronchial or pulmonary trouble, he made a point of inquiring into his past history, and invariably he found a back-ground of calf-pus "immunization" against smallpox. Then when he felt he had sufficient data to warrant it, he published The Crime of Vaccination (in 1913), which brought down on him the wrath of his medical colleagues, and made his professional life in San Francisco so unhappy that he voluntarily withdrew from all medical assemblages and finally abandoned all medical practice except surgery.
Hale, Annie Riley. The Medical Voodoo. New York: Gotham House, 1936.

'As I see it, the wise thing for the medical profession to do, is to get right into and man every great health movement; man health departments, tuberculosis societies, child and infant welfare societies, housing societies, etc. The future of the profession depends on keeping matters so that when the public mind thinks of these things it automatically thinks of physicians, and not of sociologists or sanitary engineers.  the profession cannot afford to have these places occupied by other than medical men.'--Dr. W. A. Evans, one time Health Commissioner for the City of Chicago at the Annual Convention of the AMA, 1911. p.270