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6 – A Last Word

This work is the result of a patient’s struggle for answers that were not forthcoming. Just as I raise a legitimate challenge to orthodoxy, a similar one can be directed back at me. By what right do I raise this challenge, lacking as I do the credentials of Medicine? My answer could be one of confrontation and anger – after all, it is my life that is ebbing away. However, such a stance is counter productive. And so, I will answer all with the words of another:

“The advantages which have been derived from the cau-
tion with which hypothetical statements are admitted,
are in no instance more obvious than in those sciences
which more particularly belong to the healing art. It
therefore is necessary, that some conciliatory explana-
tion should be offered for the present publication: in
which, it is acknowledged, that mere conjecture takes
the place of experiment; and, that analogy is the substi-
tute for anatomical examination, the only sure founda-
tion for pathological knowledge.
When, however, the nature of the subject, and the cir-
cumstances under which it has been here taken up, are
considered, it is hoped that the offering of the following
pages to the attention of the medical public, will not be
severely censured. The disease, respecting which the
present inquiry is made, is of a nature highly af?ictive.
Notwithstanding which, it has not yet obtained a place
in the classification of nosologists; some have regarded
its characteristic symptoms as distinct and different dis-
eases, and others have given its name to diseases differ-
ing essentially from it; whilst the unhappy sufferer has
considered it as an evil, from the domination of which
he had no prospect of escape.

…..To delay their publication did not, indeed, appear to
be warrantable. The disease had escaped particular no-
tice; and the task of ascertaining its nature and cause by
anatomical investigation, did not seem likely to be taken
up by those who, from their abilities and opportunities,
were most likely to accomplish it. That these friends to
humanity and medical science, who have already un-
veiled to us many of the morbid processes by which
health and life is abridged, might be excited to extend
their researches to this malady, was much desired; and
it was hoped, that this might be procured by the pub-
lication of these remarks.”    James Parkinson – 1817

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