Creating Waves of Awareness
Today, while reading an old classical journal of Homoeopathy, I found this interesting article on Dr. James Tyler Kent. So, here's it for you all....
Dr. JAMES TYLER KENT
Dr. D.M. Dose and Dr. Sukhwant Singh
Editor's Introduction :
Just as the life and teachings of Jesus Christ needed the Apostles to explain and expound, the Organon and Materia Medico of Hahnemann needed great desciples like Boenninghausen, Hering, Wells, Lippe, Dunham, Kent, Close and Roberts. Among them Kent stands supreme.
Nearly six years after the death of Hahnemann, was born in the State of New York, in Woodhull on 31.3.1849, James Tyler Kent. Stephen Kent was the father and the mother was Carolean Nee Tyler.
He graduated from Franklin College in Prattsberg. He obtained his Ph.D from the University of Madison at Hamilton. After this he attended Bellevue Medical College where he obtained an M.A. degree in 1870; but his real medical studies were completed at the Institute of Scientific Medicine in Cincinnati, Ohio, whereat the age of twenty five, he brilliantly passed his final examination and received his License to practice medicine.
In 1874, he started medical practice in Eclectic system at St. Louis of Missouri. In a short time he became one of 'its prominent practitioners. He joined the National Association of Eclectic Medicine and became one of the important participants.
At the age of 26 years (1875) he married an American Baptist Lady. She was instrumental in converting Kent from Eclectic school practitioner to Homoeopathic practitioner.
His wife became very ill. He was very much affected due to her illness. Though he was not demonstrative, he adored his wife. The most competent allopathic or eclectic colleagues had not the slightest success with the asthenia, weakness, persistent insomnia and anaemia which obliged her to keep to her bed for months on end. As time went by, her condition deteriorated. She then requested him to consult a homoeopath. It was a new system and Kent did not like this idea. Only when the condition of his wife became very serious, he consulted an elderly homoeopathic physician Dr. Phelan.
Dr. Phelan visited the patient and asked certain questions which according to Kent were unrelated to the existing pathology.
Kent saw Dr. Phelan put a few little globules into a glass of water and telling the patient to take one tea-spoonful every two hours till she fell asleep. The patient had not slept for weeks. Dr. Kent decided that the man was a fool or an imposter.
The patient took two doses and then Kent went to his office in the next room to prepare his lecture. He was so absorbed in his work that he forgot to return, to her room. After four hours when he remembered, he returned to her room to find her in deep sleep. He thought it might probably be a chance, but she slowly recovered. Kent was so stirred by the cure that he resolved to study the therapy himself.
Under Phelan's guidance Kent studied the Organon of Homoeopathy and with his great coat over his shoulders to keep him warm, read Materia Medica for nights on end. He left the membership of National Society of Eclectic Medicine and completely changed over to Homoeopathy.
Enlightened by every thing he learnt from his own relentless studies and from his homoeopathic colleagues he started taking patients. In 1881 he accepted in addition to his flourishing practice in Homoeopathy the Chair of Professor of Anatomy of the Homoeopathic College of Missouri, then the Chair of Surgery and after 2 years, of Materia Medica.
After a few years he became the Dean of Homoeopathic Medical School, Philadelphia where he conducted advanced courses in Materia Medica for Physicians. At this time he lost his wife. For a few months he was very much disturbed, he then fully put himself to Homoeopathy. He studied the works of the great philosopher EMANUEL SWEDENBURG and adopted his philosophy about diseases, though remaining practical in approach.
It was at this time he got a patient Clara Lousie, who had finished her medical studies. This patient had consulted the most famous homoeopathic doctors of America and every one of them had prescribed Lachesis because she presented all the symptoms of the remedy. After studying the case carefully, Kent concluded that she had been manifesting a proving of Lachesis. The frequent repetition of the remedy had created a chronic medicinal illness.
This lady doctor later became Kent's second wife. Her intelligence and competent personality made her an inspiring companion and with her, he executed his masterful works on Homoeopathic Philosophy, Materia Medica and Repertory.
After several years of intensive activity at Philadelphia he was called to Chicago to join as Professor of Materia Medica, Dunham Medical College. He became so famous that people from every part consulted him. At the age of 56 years he became Professor and Dean of the famous Hering Medical College in Chicago and also taught at Hahnemann Medical College in the same city. In Chicago he really came to his own. he and his pupils treated some more than 18,000 and 16,000 cases in 1896 and 97 respectively, apart from his private practice.
Overwrought by his teachings, his writings, the enormous practice of patients, his health broke down; so he decided at the insistence of his pupils to take rest and take advantage of this opportunity to write at least one real book on Homoeopathy because he thought that his three great works were no more than memory aids. Leaving his practice and his lectures, he went, not without some difficulty to his country house in Sunny side Orchard near Stevensville in Montana Hills. But alas! as soon as he arrived he was attacked with catarrhal bronchitis which aggravated to kidney trouble and after 2 week's illness he died on 6-6-1916, at the age of 67.
His study in Homoeopathy brought him to certainty and conviction and that he was not satisfied until he had equipped himself to apply it with all the conscience, strictness which the doctrine demanded. he found that the therapy acting on end results only brought about complications whilst the most important thing about Homoeopathy was that it came as near as possible to fundamental causes.
From 1884, he relentlessly tried to perfect the art and the technique of Homoeopathy. He proved as many as 28 medicines on himself, his pupils and friends, of which 14 were totally new.
The Lachesis iotrogenic miasm acquired by his wife was also an eye - opener.
Doctors of all schools proclaim there is no illness but ill people but in contrast very few of them apply this principle in practice. It was for him a constant daily practice in every case he treated.
Nothing made him happier than being able to reply to questions of his students, he worked all the time, never wasted a moment, used every minute to revise, correct, write, study either Materia Medica or the application of Homoeopathic principles, clinical cases, or his Repertory, for which he worked as long as his health allowed him.
He wrote all the books with the help of his second wife. His Lectures on Homoeopathic Philosophy went to 4 editions and one commemorative edition. He explained Hahnemann's Organon lucidly, explained its complexities, made it understandable to the ordinary people who had the will to learn it. He explained initial conceptions, showed how a case should be taken, how to analyse the symptom hierarchy, what the physician would see after a medicine has acted, second prescription and last of all miasms. He explained vital dynamis etc. here he was influenced by the philosopher EMANUEL SWEDENBURG. For perfection in treatment; he also dealt with incurable and hopeless cases and how they should be tackled.
His "Lectures on Homoeopathic Materia Medica" went through three editions. This is a big volume, quite unique of its kind, treating 183 remedies in 982 pages. This is a synthetic study of drugs where he has tried to build up the images of drug pictures. He taught how to study the Materia Medica, not memorizing each and every symptom of a drug, but trying to build up a notional diseased man picture with desires and aversions, mental reactions etc. The art of developing the drug image to a quasi-clinical type was Kent's great contribution. It has helped all to understand the drug and keep its picture in mind.
Finally, his most important work is his Repertory of Homoeopathic Materia Medica. He was inspired by Dr. E.J. Lee's Repertory and Boenninghausen's Repertory. Volumes have been written by grateful students and scholars on its fantastic uses and accuracy.
In the last days of his life Kent was very frail. Even when his health was failing and death was drawing near, he struggled to continue the Repertory work, writing a little and then lie down to take rest for a while. His magnificent courage kept him at work all the time. It was wonderful to think that a man should do so much in order to leave a work by which humanity should benefit.
Apart from the above three main books he had written a small booklet, "What the Doctor Needs to Know in Order to Make a Successful Prescription" and edited many journals on Homoeopathy.
He MADE many great homoeopaths. He started a New Kentian Era of a "Classical Homoeopathy" developed further by Doctors like Pierre Schmidt. He is one of the five immortals of Homoeopathy.
Chandra Kanth Chatterjee Road,
Calcutta - 700025.
Let's try to be as hard working, as loyal & as devoted to Homoeopathy as Dr. J.T. Kent was.
Dr. Navneet Bidani.