H. C. ALLEN, M. D.
In August, 1888, N. B., a child of four years spent a few weeks at his grandmother’s in Detroit, in whose residence the sewer pipes and plumbing were, being repaired. September 3d, a few days after his return, he was attacked at 2 A.M. I was called at 5 A.M. and found the following:.
Vomiting and purging; stools profuse and watery.
Gold extremities, cold ears and nose; forehead bathed in cold perspiration.
Tongue heavily coated, yellowish gray fur; edges and tip very red.
No pain or cramps.
Veratrum, I m., in water, teaspoonful after every attack of vomiting, which would average about ten minutes.
Saw him again at 8 A.M. Could not take the medicine in water < the vomiting.
Vomiting and purging no better, through the stool was not so profuse. The coldness and prostration were marked and the pale face was bathed in cold sweat.
Great restlessness, mental and physical.
Pulse 140, feeble and wiry; temp. 99.
Great thirst for small quantities, but the smallest quantity was instantly rejected by the stomach.
Arsenicum, cm., there powders, one every half hour, then Sac. lac. until I saw him.
12:30. No improvement.
Pulse 160, weak and thready.
Nausea and vomiting persistent, and the stool though not so profuse as in early morning was now horribly offensive-a carrion-like odor.
Face pale and sunken, and bathed in cold perspiration.
The tongue was dark red, and devoid of the heavy coating of the early morning.
Intense thirst, but water < both vomiting and purging. No pain.
Carbo V. 1 m. every 15 minutes for four doses, then placebo.
4 P.M. No improvement. Patient evidently sinking, impossible to count the pulse.
The symptoms being unchanged, except for the worse, especially the odor of the stool, I gave him Baptisia 200, in solution of alcohol and water, every half hour, but at 8 P.M. there was still no re-action from the evidently downward course.
Thinking perhaps that sewer gas poison may have been a factor in the cause and the clean, fiery red tongue, persistent vomiting and purging and the horribly offensive color of the stool with entire absence of pain, called my attention to the report of a case in the Homoeopathic World, by Dr. Burnett, cured and placebo gave prompt and permanent relief.
April 24, 1890. Elsie B., age 14, could not go to school. Had complained for a week of feeling tired, but in every other respect was well, she said. Her father on application of thermometer found the temperature found the temperature 102, pulse 108, and was alarmed. I found her tongue abnormally red, with a very thin white fur at base, but no symptoms. As she had had a slight epistaxis in the morning and the genus epidemicus at the time being Bryonia, I gave her a dose of the 1 m. and left Sac. lac.
There was no further nasal haemorrhage and a conspicuous absence of symptoms; yet pulse and temperature continued to rise each day reaching 120 and 104 1/2 respectively, while the tongue was dark red and very dry, but without thirst. She took Sac. lac. for a few days, waiting for symptoms on which to hang a prescription. As they declined to appear and suspecting sewer gas as a cause, Pyrogen, one dose, was given and she rapidly recovered. An examination revealed a defective pipe in the basement.
DR. GUERNSEY: Is a fiery, or dark red tongue, an indication of Pyrogen?.
DR. H. C. ALLEN: Both; first fiery, and then dark red and intensely dry, like a scarletina tongue.
DR. CAMPBELL: Do you always associate such a tongue with sewer gas?.
DR. H. C. ALLEN: Not necessarily; but sewer gas is one of the things they are stirred up about in Chicago. The previous case called by attention to it.
DR. THOMSON: Was the tongue denuded of its epithelium? .
DR. H. C. ALLEN: No; it was clean, smooth, dry; first fiery red, then dark red, glossy, shiny and easily moistened.
DR. WESSELHOEFT: When there was a great deal of talk about sewer gas in our city, I had an old privy vault obliterated and filled up. I said to one of the workmen: “Poor fellow, you must be awfully sick, working all the time in sewer gas.” “What knew a healthier set of fellows than sewer-workers are.”.
DR. H. C. ALLEN: That bears out the investigations of science. It is the sewer gas that you can not smell that is dangerous. The offensive kind takes care of itself.