The great Russian author, Anton Chekhov (1860–1904)
The great Russian author, Anton Chekhov (1860–1904), playwright and short story writer, was also a physician.
Chekhov’s short story “The Malingerers” (1885) has as its lead character a homeopathic doctor—the widow of a Russian general who has practiced as a homeopathic physician for ten years. She has an extremely busy practice and is especially popular among the poor peasants. The story focuses on one landowner who has sunk into poverty. He expresses extreme gratitude for her prescribing three doses of a homeopathic medicine to him. He falls to his knees to thank her, telling her that his eight years of suffering from rheumatism are over thanks to her medicines. He tells her that he was initially skeptical of these tiny doses, but his skepticism is over. He also tells her how greedy the regular doctors are and how they never really cure people. He asserts: “The doctors did me nothing but harm. They drove the disease inwards. Drive in, that they did, but to drive out was beyond their science.” He refers to doctors as “assassins.” He cries because he cannot even provide wood to keep his family warm. The doctor shows sympathy for him and gives him wood. The patient then tells her he needs a cow, and the doctor provides that too. As the patient leaves the doctor, three pieces of paper fall out of his pockets, and she discovers that these are the homeopathic medicines she had previously given him, left untouched.
Chekhov closes the story with the homeopathic doctor experiencing doubt for the first time in ten years of practice. The story ends with the words “The deceitfulness of man!”
Thank you Dana Ullman, MPH for this fabulous information (www.homeopathic.com)