Observation of the sick – most important of all human vocations

Dr Mohammed Salih.M.A

Master Samuel Hahnemann considers healing of the sick and suffering as the most superior of all human vocations. He expressed this in different places in his writings. Through clear guidelines and instructions, Hahnemann guides physicians to the road of becoming true healer of diseases. Careful observation is one of the skills Hahnemann demands from fellow homoeopaths in order to perceive each individual case in its accurate way so that he can deliver the best as a true healer.

In the 6th aphorism of Organon of Medicine Hahnemann narrates the importance of observing each individual case without any prejudice in order to draw the true and only conceivable portrait of the disease. In the footnote to 6th aphorism he says paying much attention to the signs and symptoms and thus discover the alteration that had occurred in the invisible interior, and set it to rights with medicines could alone be called radical and rational treatment.

In the 83rd aphorism Hahnemann demands from physicians, for each individual case, nothing but freedom from prejudice and sound senses, attention in observing and fidelity in tracing the picture of the disease.

In the aphorism 90, detailed practical instructions to be followed during case taking are mentioned. “When the physician has finished writing down these particulars, he then makes a note of what he himself observes in the patient, and ascertains how much of that was peculiar to the patient in his healthy state.” In the footnote to this aphorism, master gives some examples like, “How the patient behaved during the visit – whether he was morose, quarrelsome, hasty, lachrymose, anxious, despairing or sad, or hopeful, calm etc. What was the color of his face and eyes, and of his skin generally? Were his pupils dilated or contracted? What was the character of the pulse?

In one of his very interesting article – ‘The Medical Observer’ (1825), Hahnemann says, in order to be able to observe well, the medical practitioner requires to possess the capacity and habit of noticing correctly the phenomenon that takes place in natural diseases, as well as those that occur in the morbid states excited artificially by medicines when they are tested upon healthy body. Hahnemann clearly states that, the capability of observing accurately is never an inborn or hereditary faculty; it must be chiefly acquired by practice, by refining and regulating the perception of the senses.

The contents of the lesser writing ‘The Medical Observer’:

  • Poetic fancy, fantastic wit and speculations must be suspended and all overstrained reasoning, forced interpretations and tendency to explain away things, must be suppressed.
  • Only notice the phenomenon and their course; his attention should be on the watch, nothing should escape his observations and whatever he observes should be understood as it is.
  • Coolness, calmness, firmness of judgment must be preserved and there should be no apprehension.
  • The best opportunity for exercising and perfecting our observing faculty is offered by instituting experiments with medicines upon ourselves, that is drug proving experiments.
  • The experimenter after he has taken the medicine has all his attention strained towards all the alterations of health that takes place on and within him, in order to observe and correctly record them, with ever wakeful feelings and his senses ever on the watch.
  • By continuing these careful investigations of all changes that occur within and upon him, the experimenter attains the capability of observing all the sensations, even the finest shades of alteration of his health.
  • Here alone it is possible for the beginner to make pure, correct and undisturbed observations, for he knows that he will not deceive himself, there is no one to tell him that is untrue. He himself notices, feels what takes place within and upon him.
  • He will thus acquire practice to enable him to make accurate observations on others also.
  • By means of these pure and accurate investigations, we shall be , made aware that all the symptomatology existing in the ordinary system of medicine , was only superficial affair, and that the nature disorders man in health and in all his sensations and functions by disease or medicine in such infinitely various and different manners.
  • The most important of all vocations, the observation of the sick, and the infinite varieties of their disordered state of health, can only be pursued in such a superficial and careless manner by those who despise mankind, for in this way there was no question either of distinguishing the peculiarities of the morbid states.
  • The conscientious physician who earnestly endeavors to apprehend in its peculiarity the disease to be cured , in order to be able to oppose to it the appropriate remedy , will go much more carefully to work in his endeavour to distinguish what there is to be observed
  • No sensations be it so ever peculiar will escape him, which was occasioned in his feelings by the medicine he tested himself.
  • He will endeavour to convey an idea of it in language by the most appropriate expression, in order to be able in his practice to match the accurate morbid picture with the similarly acting medicine, where by alone, as, he knows, can a cure be effected.

Hahnemann ends the article, The Medical Observer by stating that, “true is that the careful observer alone can become a true healer of diseases.”


  • Hahnemann S. Organon of medicine. B. Jain publishers; 2008.
  • Dudgeon R.E. The Lesser Writings of Samuel Hahnemann. The Medical Observer, New Delhi, B.jain publisher, 2019; 724-728

Dr.Mohammed Salih.M.A
PG Scholar
Department of Organon of Medicine & Homoeopathic Philosophy,
Government Homoeopathic Medical College Hospital and Research Center,Bengaluru, Karnataka
Email: salihuk1234@gmail.com

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