Art of Interrogation

Discussion on case taking of acute and chronic cases by Pierre Schmidt. Many examples that show how different types of patients need to be interrogated….

Today I shall discuss the art of interrogation but first I shall mention one or two points about homoeopathic treatment.

The remedy you select may be of mineral or vegetable or animal origin or a nosode. If you are considering a mineral remedy, before giving a mineral remedy, please try to begin the treatment of your case always with a vegetable remedy. There is only one exception to this rule and that is Lycopodium. It is a vegetable remedy but please generally avoid beginning the treatment of a case with Lycopodium. With Lycopodium it is the experience of the old homoeopaths – it is so deep in action, like Sulphur and Calcarea, comprising the 3 big remedies of our materia medica – that when you begin with such a remedy you create a turmoil and you may have sometimes an aggravation that you do not wish so sharp.

And so, you have to be cautious not to begin with Lycopodium unless it is absolutely indicated I make also an exception there, because all remedies in the materia medica have two phases – an acute phase and a chronic phase. We have an acute Sulphur an acute Lycopodium, an acute Arsenic and so on. Sometimes even a deep acting remedy may be indicated for a short while in an inflammation or something of that kind but it has to be prescribed carefully. I remember a friend in Lyons who made two mistakes.

In the first case, the patient was a lady doctor who had a very high temperature. It was 43 degree C. She had at the same time a crisis of acute cholecystitis and pneumonia, and she was delirious and in a very bad state. She had received all kinds of remedies and at last the doctor had given her Lycopodium. In the acute phase with cholecystitis and lung trouble it is such a risk. At the moment when the patient is trying to help herself, to give the remedy so deep in action is dangerous of course.

The result was very quick – the delirium became worse, she could not recognise any one, and she was in such a bad state with high fever, trembling and sometimes with semi-convulsions that a priest was called into give her benediction before she died. And at this time we were asked to see the lady. I go every month to Lyons which is some 200 miles from Geneva, to deliver lectures to 40 to 42 physicians there and this was one of my students is Lyons so I said the only thing to do now is to antidote the Lycopodium. Of course Lycopodium was her own drug but especially because it has an action on the liver, you know it aggravated the case.

She had terrible pains, she was shrieking, she was in a really bad state. Now she was extremely agitated, she was very red in the face, she did not know what she was saying. And with this high fever, she was also very thirsty. So I thought the best thing is to give Aconite 10,000 first and then wait and see what we can do. Then she began to recover a little consciousness, she began to pray and she said to us: “Now I wish to pray with you” and she was always speaking of praying. So with this high fever, this agitation this praying, it was typically stramonium. So we gave a 10,000 of Stramonium two days after the Aconite and this moved us a little towards better situation.

But, when we came to see her after the Stramonium, she still had a very high fever because of the lung condition. It seems that the pain in the liver was a little better but she was extremely nervous and stood up with a 42 degree C fever to tell us: “Oh I do not know why you are coming. I am extremely well. I have nothing, no trouble. I am cured. I thank you very much. You are very kind. But there is no need to come now,” and so on, but she did not realise that she was so sick.

This is typical indication as you know of Arnica. So we gave her Arnica 10,000 She rallied very beautifully and started bringing out some Lycopodium symptoms probably she had too much of Lycopodium. But by and by we could see she was better and after about two weeks she was again on her feet, cured. And now it is three years she is quite well. She was very pleased. It had been a mistake to give her Lycopodium at that moment.

In the second case, the son of this physician, who had given the Lycopodium had a sore throat which began on the right side and went to the left, with a very dry mouth. He was very thirsty with a very bloated stomach and he was asking for water all the time. He was I do not know why having irritation in the throat. The throat had one or two little white patches and was very red with no ulceration but he had terrible pain on swallowing. He could not swallow.

There were some indications for Lycopodium and so his father gave him Lycopodium. But in such situation you should rarely begin treatment with Lycopodium. Please generally begin treatment with Lycopodium. Please generally begin with something else. You can give Aconite you can give Bryonia, Belladonna Pulsatilla, any remedy in the vegetable kingdom except Lycopodium so, he was growing worse not better, and day after day the fever went up, he was not able to swallow a little even and he was emaciating. The father was anxious the mother was worried and they were not at all pleased So, I came and I looked at the case and I must say frankly that by taking the symptoms carefully I found it was a plain case of Lycopodium.

Now what to do? We waited three days and were watching the case. I thought of many things to do, I thought I would do what Hahnemann did for the rest of his life. There is a way to give remedy which is less harmful and less reaction making – that is by inhalation. So, we gave Lycopodium but not the 200 th which had been given already but one inhalation of the 10,000th because he had it already lower so I gave him just one nice whiff one little inhalation. But now, how do you apply the inhaling method? Hahnemann said, take one single globule of poppy seed size in a clean new bottle not a washed bottle in which something else had been kept but a new fresh bottle that has never known any remedy which is absolutely virginal.

In this you put some drops of the potency in alcohol and you hold this under the nose – one good inspiration there and you stop. You must realise that you are actually inundating the system with the medicinal energy. You are putting this on a surface of 81 square metres which is the total lung surface. In the evening the fever went down and the next day the boy was completely cured. His fever had been going on for 4 days you know and now in a very short time he was cured.

This is an exception of an acute Lycopodium case. So I tell you, habitually pay attention to Lycopodium and do not give it very easily Yes, yes, Hahnemann said: “Give if possible an acute remedy which is not psoric for acute cases and try to search first in the vegetable kingdom. Now, if you cannot get such a remedy you may give a remedy like pulsatilla or Lachesis get such a remedy you may give a remedy like pulsatilla or Lachesis from the plant or the animal kingdom if necessary.

But for the beginning you may use your Aconite, your Belladonna, your small remedies, we sill call them small remedies, good remedies – very high in standing when they cure, they are then the kings of the situation – but still we call them small remedies, because their action is short. We do not risk any aggravation or engrafting something else on the system by repeating them. So that is why it is good to use them. Now, when you have an acute case begin with a remedy from the vegetable kingdom.

If this acute illness only came once in patient’s life, it is quite alright but if it is a recurrent disease – throat or headache or anything like that – the time to give that remedy is always right after the acute crisis. That is the time when the body has tried to throw the toxic stuff away and is the best time to let the remedy act properly. So that is why when he has an acute case the art of the physician lies in taking care only of the symptoms of the moment, of the acute symptoms that he has before him, not to take into consideration that the patient has had tuberculosis or cancer – these are besides the acute things.

Please think the situation is bursting out, it is like a flare up. The symptoms are clear the desires and aversions are typical. So give at this time, please, consideration only to the acute symptoms to the symptoms of the patient at the moment. And this is not the time to take into consideration the chronic case – the tendency of the family the mother the father, anything else. It is only when you have no results that it shows you it is not a pure typical acute case but is an exacerbation of the chronic disease.

And here we make a distinction. Between the chronic and acute there is a bridge and in the middle of the bridge is what we call the exacerbation of the chronic disease which sometimes flares up. There you can give your remedy which first is the acute one, is that all the remedies have acute and chronic phases and we must try to find what are the indications of the acute phase. Well they will be very useful. Now so far about the question of the acute remedies and chronic remedies.

Pierre Schmidt
Pierre Schmidt M.D.(1894-1987)
Dr. Schmidt was introduced to the results of homeopathic treatment during the 1918 flu epidemic while living in London. There he met both J. H. Clarke and John Weir.
In 1922 he came to the United States and began his studies with Alonzo Austin and Frederica Gladwin, who had been a pupil of Kent's. He became the first graduate of the American Foundation for Homeopathy course for doctors. Returning to his native land he set up practice in Geneva, Switzerland. He was responsible for reintroducing classical homeopathy into Europe, teaching several generations of physicians, including Elizabeth Wright Hubbard.
Dr. Schmidt helped edit the "Final General Repertory" of Kent, and translated the Organon into French. In 1925, he was one of the main founders of the Liga Medicorum Homoeopathic Internationalis (LIGA).