Chlorine in Spasmus Glottidis – 3

Chlorine in Spasmus Glottidis. Any attempt to examine the throat, or, on the part of the child, to open the mouth to take food or drink, or any attempt to cough, produced a fearful spasm of the glottis, which seemed to admit the air well enough but to prevent its exit….

Several years since I published (1 1American Homoeopathic Review, vol. ii., pp. 18 and 448: “Spasmus Glottidis. No. 1. “) an accidental proving of Chlorine, with some cases of spasm of the glottis in which I had used it with advantage.

Last month I was called to a child, two years and a half old, which had just been brought home from the country, and was supposed to be at the point of death. Five weeks before, it had sickened with scarlatina, which, according to the physicians in attendance, (2Allopaths of excellent professional standing.) had become complicated by diphtheria, and this by inflammation of the right lung and deposit therein. An abscess had formed and discharged externally on the neck; leaving an ulcer about two inches long and one and a half broad, which exposed the cervical muscles, and showed no disposition to heal; copious and very offensive discharge from both ears; the throat seemed to be full of a thick, yellow matter, very offensive, which the child would occasionally eject, but seemed, for the most, to be unable to move either up or down. Any attempt to examine the throat, or, on the part of the child, to open the mouth to take food or drink, or any attempt to cough, produced a fearful spasm of the glottis, which seemed to admit the air well enough but to prevent its exit, and which lasted until the child became livid and sank exhausted. And this constituted, in the opinion of my predecessors, the insuperable obstacle to the child’s recovery. The spasm prevented its tasting food. No food had been taken for a week, and very little during the entire illness. The child was now very feeble and greatly emaciated. Its death had been hourly looked for by the doctors.

I prepared immediately some Chlorine water, (1 American Homoeopathic Review, ii., 370.) diluted, until the gas was just perceptible, and gave to the child. He took a mouthful and began to choke with the spasm; I immediately placed near his face a handkerchief, wet with strong Chlorine water, so that he might inhale the gas. The spasm ceased instantly and he swallowed. I left orders for a similar procedure whenever, from any cause, whether coughing or swallowing, the spasm should be induced. It never failed to arrest the spasmodic action and enable the child to swallow, or to eject the matter from the throat. A number of days elapsed before the child could make an articulate sound, or any sound. The doctors had thought the diphtheria had induced paralysis of some of the pharyngeal muscles, and perhaps others, and hence the spasm in the associate and neighboring muscles. And it may be so. They regarded the spasm an insuperable obstacle to recovery. It was evident to every attendant that the Chlorine relaxed the spasm and enabled the child to swallow. His subsequent improvement was uniform and rapid under Carbo vegetabilis200.

It may be, by and by, some esteemed friend will tell me2, “I have used Chlorine in a case presenting exactly these symptoms, and it failed,” and may thence conclude that I am mistaken in ascribing the successful issue of my case to Chlorine. I suppose I shall reply: There are two possible fallacies. I have stated the symptoms which led me to give Chlorine, butthey may not comprise the real symptoms which constituted the case a case for Chlorine, just as the judge may give a righteous judgement, but may base it, in his written opinion, on most erroneous premises. So, on the other hand, you, in your case, may have found exactly the same symptoms which I described, but you may have overlooked something else in your case which constituted it an essentially different one from mine. The sciences of pathology and semeiology are too imperfect to admit of these back strokes of criticism overthrowing positive evidence by negative. Why, they are not admitted in chemistry, and hardly, even in astronomy! I shall urge these considerations in reply, but feebly, doubtless, and to no purpose, and shall at last fall in with the current of the day, which, who can resist? and shall read the old proverb, “Seeing is not believing,” and shall give in my adhesion to the scientific motto of our time: “Belief is human: but to doubt divine”.

Carroll Dunham
Dr. Carroll Dunham M.D. (1828-1877)
Dr. Dunham graduated from Columbia University with Honours in 1847. In 1850 he received M.D. degree at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York. While in Dublin, he received a dissecting wound that nearly killed him, but with the aid of homoeopathy he cured himself with Lachesis. He visited various homoeopathic hospitals in Europe and then went to Munster where he stayed with Dr. Boenninghausen and studied the methods of that great master. His works include 'Lectures on Materia Medica' and 'Homoeopathy - Science of Therapeutics'.