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Prevention of Disease

Some years ago, when I was in Kashmir, some local inhabitants brought to me a young man on a stretcher, who they said had fallen off a high rock, and had broken his back and was dying. I soon found that he had only dislocated his shoulder and had got a few bruises, and seemed to think that he ought to die.

So I pulled off my shoe, sat down alongside of him facing his head, put my heel in his arm-pit, got hold of his arm, and pulled with all my force till the bone jumped into its socket. The pain made him faint, and his friends thought I had really killed him. But in a few minutes he recovered and found his arm was all right. Then they thought I must be no end of a doctor, so they sent round the country for all the sick to be brought in to be cured; and I had an awful time of it for the next two days. Cases of every kind of disease were carried in, and I had scarcely any drugs with which to treat them, but I did the best I could, and I really believe that some of the poor creatures got better from simply believing that I was doing them a lot of good.

But most of them were ill from being dirty and letting their wounds get poisoned with filth; and many were ill from bad drainage, and from drinking foul water, and so on.

This I explained to the headmen of the villages, and I hope that I did some good for their future health.

At any rate, they were most grateful, and gave me a lot of help ever afterwards in getting good bear-hunting and also food, etc.

If I had not known a little doctoring I could have done nothing for these poor creatures.

While talking about doctoring I want to warn you against the excessive use of patent medicines and drugs. You will find advertisements for these in many magazines and they sound like cures for all ills. Whilst some may be quite beneficial, others can be very harmful, especially if they are taken in large quantities. So if you are ill go to a qualified doctor rather than buy some remedy which the advertisement says will cure whatever you may think is wrong with you.


Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell (Chief Scout, London, UK)

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