Discredited His Own Experience 307
One day I met him at the home of a mutual friend, and in the presence of a number of other people he accused me of having hypnotized him, adding that to hypnotize a patient without his knowledge or consent was to do him a grievous wrong. Some of the listeners protested that whether I had hypnotized him or not, I had not only done him no harm but had greatly benefited him, and he ought to forgive me. He was unable, however, to take this view of the matter. Later he called on a prominent eye specialist who told him that the presbyopia and astig matism from which he had suffered were incurable, and that if he persisted in going without his glasses he might do himself great harm. The fact that his sight was per fect for the distance and the near-point without glasses had no effect upon the specialist, and the patient allowed himself to be frightened into disregarding it also. He went back to his glasses, and so far as I know has been wearing them ever since. The story obtained wide pub licity, for the man had a large circle of friends and ac quaintances; and if I had destroyed his sight I could scarcely have suffered more than I did for curing him.
Fifteen or twenty years ago the specialist mentioned in the foregoing story read a paper on cataract at a meeting of the ophthalmological section of the American Medical Association in Atlantic City, and asserted that anyone who said that cataract could be cured without the knife was a quack. At that time I was assistant surgeon at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, and it happened that I had been collecting statistics of the spontaneous cure of cataract at the request of the executive surgeon of this institution, Dr. Henry G. Noyes, Professor of Ophthal mology at the Bellevue Hospital Medical School. As a result of my inquiry, I had secured records of a large num-