Thousands of lives are lost annually from diseases which could have been prevented. Hundreds of thousands, because of some preventable ailment, which partially or totally incapacitates them, are today living only a small part of their lives. Millions of dollars yearly are squandered on medicines, doctors and undertakers—much of which might have been saved by a right knowledge of the laws of health and hygiene.

Even among the comfortably situated, or even well-to-do, robust, vigorous health is the rarest of possessions. The most rugged-looking, on being closely and sympathetically catechised, will admit to a “touch of rheumatism”; a chronic stomach, liver, or kidney trouble; nervousness, headaches, neuralgia, constipation, or something that tends to prevent his attaining completest physical power and mental efficiency. And the weaker sex more than justify their descriptive adjective. For 80% of those not directly under a physician’s care, or taking some medicine or form of treatment for something, should be.

Conditions are improving, however. There is a dawn of hope for humanity. For good health is being made a fetish. It is becoming a gospel—a gospel preached in schools, newspapers, magazines, churches and theatres. Accurate knowledge concerning sanitation, sexology, food, clothing, exercise, sleeping, resting, and all hygienic measures, is becoming more and more widely disseminated.

Humanity is awakening to the fact that sickness, in a large percentage of cases, is an error—of body and mind. Ignorance of the injurious effects of wrong foods, drinks, habits and methods is gradually being overcome.

Foremost among those engaged in educating the public away from paths of ignorance, and the disastrous consequences of this ignorance, is the medical fraternity. The noblest and most self-sacrificing profession on earth is the one most industriously engaged in sawing the branch between itself and the tree of Financial Gain. The doctor is the philanthropist most impressively employed in killing the geese that lay his golden eggs with one hand, while he cuts his pocket-book’s jugular vein with the other.

For he catches and segregates—constructing prisons for them, if necessary—all cases,—or even suspected cases—of contagious disease,—disease which, if permitted to spread broadcast, would net him a horde of ducats.

He sees to it that no infectious disorders are imported into the country—the spreading of which would give him much practice. He traces every typhoid case to its ultimate dirty barn, or infected water supply, and counts that day well spent whose low declining sun has seen him stamp out a possible typhoid epidemic at its source.

He vaccinates all—willing and unwilling—lest he be kept horribly busy attending a huge army of small-pox patients.

He instructs gluttons, and others, as to the grave dangers of overeating, or of eating the right food at the wrong time.

He teaches mothers to sterilize their babies’ bottles, and thereby keep the bugs of war at bay.

He thunders against exposure, against spitting in or on public places; he has Health Ordinances passed, covering every conceivable method whereby disease might develop.

Untiringly and without intermission—except during a few of the worst blizzards—he inculcates the doctrines of flies, in their relation to fingers and filth, and hurls Phillipics against mosquitoes, ticks, and the insect world generally—not forgetting bed-bugs, lice, and other disease-breeding vermin.

He extols the benefits of bathing, the rich rewards of fresh air, exercise, and the relief of constipation.

In fact, he takes pride in doing all that within him lies, in order to teach the world to do without him.

Thanks to doctors, we are learning about plumbing and posture, mastication and measles, outdoors, deep breathing, poisons and poise. We are finding out what bad teeth do to good health, how to work, play and sleep so as to get the greatest physical good from each.

We are warned against overweight, alcohol, common colds and tobacco, and the evil possibilities in marrying one’s cousin—or some one else’s cousin who has, or has had, syphilis, feeble-mindedness, a drunken ancestry, epilepsy, or some tendency to “hark back” and “revert to type”—as did Mendel’s beans, or the black Andalusian pullets.

The subject of life and health conservation is “in the air.” Only recently a president of the American Medical Association made this theme the subject of his inaugural address. Hardly a medical journal but has one or more articles devoted to it in each issue. We are being specifically instructed in how to avoid disease.

Now, however, we are to learn how, in many instances, diseases, many of them most grave and life-shortening, may be cured. This, by measures which conflict with no other form of treatment, and so simple as almost to appear ridiculous. For Dr. William H. FitzGerald, the discoverer of zone therapy, is to tell us how he instructs his patients, under his guidance and direction, to cure themselves.

Dr. FitzGerald’s position is one that commands respect. He is a graduate of the University of Vermont, and spent two and a half years in the Boston City Hospital. He served two years in the Central London Nose and Throat Hospital. For a like period he was in Vienna, where he was assistant to Professor Politzer and Professor Otto Chiari, who are known wherever medical text-books are read.

For several years Dr. FitzGerald has been the senior nose and throat surgeon of St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, and is an active member of most of the American medical societies.

I have known Dr. FitzGerald for many years. He is able and honest, a skillful and competent surgeon, and a student. No matter how foolish, how ridiculous his methods may seem, they are most decidedly not the vaporings of a dreamer or a charlatan. They are the calmly digested findings of a trained scientific mind.

And so Dr. FitzGerald is to give us specific details of one of the most wonderful and perplexing things connected with the art of medicine. This, because a physician’s premise is to teach—as well as heal. Because publicity concerning the prevention and cure of disease is a duty he owes mankind: not as an altruist, but as a human being.

Edwin F. Bowers, M. D.

Sept. 1, 1916.