WITH LICENSE TO PRACTICE MEDICINE

Through the royal permit in January 1570, Felipe II sent the teaching doctors to the provinces in the other side of the ocean. These doctors tested the candidates to doctors and they also compiled information about practicing surgery, medicine herbs, and everything that contributed to the health of the vassals. In New Spain, the royal tribunal of the teaching doctors was soon conformed, besides supervising the lectures of medicine and astrology in the university; it was in charge of the curing practices and of giving out licenses to the interns. They also went after charlatans and swindlers. Around the XVIII century, the fame of the “Indian Doctor” spread throughout the province of Valladolid currently the state of Michoacan in Mexico. His methods based on scientific experimentation were so praised, that it diminished the authority of the testing doctors. The humble doctor refused to be tested so he was arrested and taken to the city.

The testing of the Indian Doctor would be public and in the enclosure of the main classroom of the university. This happening brought many spectators wishing to attend to the challenge between the institutional science and the traditional cures. The faculty wore academic gowns and berets, their graduation outfits, and made honor to erudition quoting the authors in Latin and making references to that they of course knew the Indian Doctor did not understand. With humbleness and standing up as if he was a convict, the man hailing from Patzcuaro in Valladolid answered the unequal inquiry saying “Have some patience on me”, which brought up smiles of superiority and satisfaction to the teachers faces. Then the Indian took out something he had on his chest and said: “Do me a favor your graces, and smell this little herb I had in my chest”. The contemptuous doctors asked him scornfully in Latin the qualities of the herb and the Indian smiled in the inside since he was not able to respond in such refined language. Instantly the doctors started getting unstoppable hemorrhages in their nose, to which the provincial man gave the advice; “Now your graces, cure yourselves from the blood that runs out of your noses”. As time passed on, his pride changed into a mute beseech. The pale and terrified Latin speakers couldn’t object anything to Indian Doctor, who slowly took out another different herb and charitably, made the astonished men who were bleeding to death, smell the herb and the blood stopped. The royal tribunal of teaching doctors granted the license to the humble herbalist.

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