THE writ of Homoeopathy runs in all departments of the Art of Healing. From Hahnemann down to Burnett and Clarke the masters in Homoeopathy have furnished leading cases of the successful application of the Law of Similars in the rarer forms of ante- natal or post-natal medicine, as well as in atypical maladies of the adolescent or adult. In the hands of those competent to adjust the similar remedy, crises and complications attest the validity of its operation with a definiteness that allows no quibbling about post or proper hoc.
Surgery has long scraped the idea of Homoeopathy, and the two procedures have been held to be mutually exclusive. Well, so much the worse for surgery. The book of Homoeopathy is full of records of the work of Surgeons helped to a successful issue by Homoeopathy; also of cases where alternative Surgery has been supplanted by the powers of “Similia similibus”, and of yet other instances in which post-operative complications have been canceled by the introduction of the Hahnemannian rule of practice. Later in the text of this report a clinical history is given belonging to this category.
Hitherto, the field of high potencies as controls in the critical issues of surgery has not been systematically tilled, although sporadic instances have been reported again and again of its extraordinary fertility on cultivation. In recent time, Dr. Howard Patrick gave to the British Homoeopathic Society a series of cases where super infinitesimals had functioned to the surprise of the surgeon, the delight of the patient, and the reasoned anticipation of the physician.
Later come Dr. John Weir, who selected Rhus as a type of high potency for the surgeon, acting as a clinical control before and following operation, and whose remedial polyvalency had quite inexcusably dwelt in the shade. The object lesson which is embodied in the text of the ensuing communication is given in consecutive form and in more specific detail than its forerunners.
My colleague, Dr. Fergie Woods, of Harley Street, desired a specialists judgment in the case of a married lady in her early forties who was troubled with a large abdominal tumour. That this was pelvic in origin was soon determined, and that it possessed the characters of a uterine fibroid was plain beyond cavil. She also showed early arthritic changes in the left knee, consequential on a defective metabolism of no apparent magnitude.
The Period was not copious, but repetitive: i.e. it would recur immediately after its apparent cessation. The mental counterpart was a dread of malignant development.
Taking into account the totality of the physical condition one of the increasing limitations it was decided to relieve the patient of her chief embargo by operation. Detailed examination ad hoc revealed a troublesome laryngeal catarrh and some submucous rales in the chest; and also a type of urine containing creatine and creatinine a condition of things I have learned to regard as closely allied to a definite glycosuria.
Some days were occupied in getting rid of the catarrh and bringing the renal secretion to an apparent normal; and not until then was operation carried out.
During the actual surgical procedure the anaesthetist commented on the outpouring from the mouth of a quantity of coffee-ground- coloured fluid, and attributed this to gastric ulcer. But there were no signs or symptoms of ulcer of the stomach. Other than this the operation proceeded as is customary. Anaesthesia was induced by a duplicate form of spinal and general anaesthetic. The operation was that of sub-total hysterectomy.
For the first three post-operative days the course was uneventful; then the clinical hurricane broke. The temperature suddenly rose to 101 degree; the breathing became markedly embarrassed; sleep was fitful. Antimonium tart. was given for twenty-four hours.
Dr. Fergie Woods now saw the case with me. He found definite evidence of pneumonia in the right lung; and on various indications, including a maximum temperature at 4 p.m., Lycopodium 1m was given repeatedly for eighteen hours. The patients condition was now so threatening that an auxiliary physician remained on duty the whole night.
On the ensuing morning the condition became still more critical. An alarming crisis of genuine air hunger developed, shortly before mid-day; the patient became cyanosed, the respirations rose to 34 per minute; and this stressful situation continued for some two hours.
In addition to the characteristic aggravation time of Sulphur, 11-12 noon, the patient was constantly putting her feet out of bed to cool them, and she showed great disinclination to be covered. Accordingly Sulphur 1m was now prescribed. Improvement commenced forthwith; the breathing became more comfortable, and four and a half hours of natural though fitful sleep were obtained during the night. The sudden change was as that from darkness to light.
Apparently the Lycopodium had done this much it had brought out clearly the indications for the true remedy.
The next day the improved condition (temperature 99 degree respiration 26) continued, but did not advance; the night was less restful, and between 9 and 11 p.m. another crisis of air hunger, but much less severe than before, developed. Dr. Fergie Woods (who continued to see the patient with me day by day) changed the potency of Sulphur to 10m.
No further crisis developed; the patient slept increasingly soundly the succeeding nights; the lung condition cleared up day by day, and a continuous convalescence followed, during which the highest temperature was 99 degree. The organism in the sputum were found to be of the streptococcus and pneumococcus type.
The foregoing clinical history is sufficiently striking; but an element quite as spectacular is to be included. The urine before operation contained creatine and creatinine, and for this reason glucose was looked for each day in post-operative time. On the third day it appeared in some quantity; on the fifth day it reached an estimated average (laboratory examination) of twelve grains per ounce of urine excreted, totalling some three-quarters of an ounce of glucose in the twenty-four hours.
By the eighth day the sugar had materially diminished; on the ninth day it entirely disappeared. Even more disconcerting than glucose were the Ketone bodies diacetic acid and acetone present also in threatening quantities. These vanished more slowly than the glucose, continuing some days after the urine was free from sugar. The patient returned home exactly four weeks after operation.
A curative development more spectacular I do not recall in my professional experience. Without doubt the pulmonary stress was increased considerably by the glycosuria and acetonemia; and it is notable that the former of the Ketone bodies disappeared some days before the latter. The prescription of Sulphur was throughout on solely symptomatological grounds; pathology afforded no guidance. Sulphur cm wound up the latter part of the convalescence.