The Homoeopathic Recorder, October, 1953.
The story of the first homoeopathic hospital is an interesting bit of history, not only because it was the first institution of its kind, but because it seems to have set the pattern followed by many homoeopathic hospitals of later years. When it opened its doors to the public on January 22d 1833, it enjoyed the loyal support of the majority of the homoeopathic fraternity. Its dissolution, after four years of rather precarious existence, was due to the jealousy and bitter strife among the homoeopaths themselves, in which regrettably, Hahnemann himself took part, and to the “fifth – column activities” of its enemies. However, its inception took place under circumstances quite different from that of most of its successors; for even before the simple inaugural ceremony by which it was dedicated, it was doomed to failure.
In August of 1829, a friend of Homoeopathic donated 1250 Thaler for the erection of a homoeopathic clinic. Naturally, Hahnemann received the news or this generous gift with he greatest satisfaction. Now at last his dream of an institution where the marvelous efficiency of his new system of therapeutics could be demonstrated before the world and students could be taught to practice according to his teachings was to be realized. But his enthusiasm was dampened when he learned that Moritz Muller had been appointed as medical director of the proposed hospital and clinic. Muller, though sincere and one of the most gifted of those who claimed to practice Homoeopathy in Germany, was an allopathic convert who was unable to divest himself of many of his allopathic ideas.
Hahnemann knew this; hence he was in grave doubt as to the kind of treatment the inmates of the hospital would receive. Subsequent events did not allay his fears. Muller seems to have been the most enthusiastic of all in promoting the new venture. The fund had been increased to the amount of 3500 Thaler. by his zeal and energy, Muller was able to purchase a house in one of Leipsics suburbs and through his personal influence and, despite the strenuous opposition of Medical Officer Clarus, antagonist of all things homoeopathic, obtained a permit from the local government that placed the hospital on a legal basis.
But to Hahnemann, who had lost confidence in Mullers honor, this was a positive indication that the latter, “well reputed and influential as he was in Leipsic, had brought all this to pass by means of astonishing zeal simply to appropriate to himself the position as chief physician.” Probably Hahnemann did not direct to elect the chief director of the hospital, Muller nominated Schweikert of Grimma, but Haubold proposed Muller, who was elected, or that Schweikert, who was Hahnemanns choice and a thorough – going homoeopath, was given the position of Hospital Physician at a later date. Muller wrote on the back of ballots sent to out of town members, that Schweikert was the only suitable one for this office.
The fact that Muller kept Hahnemann informed of the course of events, seemed not to have altered the attitude of the latter toward the hospital regime. “But,” says Haehl, (Life and Letters of Hahnemann), “when all obstacles seemed to be set aside in an unexpectedly short time; when the house was bought for the institution through Moritz Mullers zeal; when the official sanction was accorded; when even Leipsic town seemed to be promoting the affair and Hahnemann could assume that his strict pupil Schweikert would be removing from Grimma to Leipsic in order to undertake the direction of the institution entirely according his theories, then even Hahnemanns anxieties were allayed for the moment, and he rejoiced at Gods remarkable guidance.
Four weeks later all this was ruined and the germ of blight has been laid at the threshold of the institution as yet unopened, by Hahnemann himself. It is the most painful fact in the whole history of homoeopathy, that its founder, in clumsy and thoughtless haste, should deal the blow which stifled the movements united enterprise as it was coming to life.” In a sharp and unexpected attack, published in the Leipsic Tageblatt, Hahnemann branded the physicians who were behind the movement to build a hospital as “pseudo – homoeopathic and unreliable.”
It was like a stroke of lightning out of a cloudless sky and not only ruined the moral support of the hospital outside of Leipsic, but created dissension among the homoeopaths themselves and caused Schweikert to changed his mind and, after arranging his affairs in Grimma, made the journey, arriving on October 6th. But he did not assume the position Hahnemann had anticipated he would, for, as previously noted, at a meeting of the directors, Muller was elected Director in Chief of the hospital. Thus were Hahnemanns fears realized. Schweikert and his pupil, Edward Seidel, who had been called from his native town of Ober – Lausitz, were the only genuine homoeopaths on the staff.
The hospital, situated in a beautiful spot in the Johannis suburb of Leipsic, was opened with a brief ceremony, on the 22nd of January, 1833. Schweikert, in his capacity as delegate of the Central Society which had sponsored the movement, presided. He said in part, “Near and far, the eyes of our enemies and our enemies and our friends are on our institution, the former spying, doubting, unbelieving, the, latter full of hope, confidence and belief. It remains for us to edify our enemies, destroying their doubt and unbelief, and to justify our friends hopes and trusting belief.” Muller made a few remarks, saying that “newly discovered natural laws led Hahnemann to reconstruct the theory of therapy which seems to justify itself in practice as being the most admirable.”
No word was received form Hahnemann who had said that he had no sympathy with an institution directed by “impure physicians” and even withheld money that was sent to him for its support. Others shared his views. Stories of unhomoeopathic treatment of patients began to leak out. Homoeopaths who came from other countries, soon went away disappointed. Students who had already accepted the new therapy, were the only visitors. Patients flocked to the hospital so long as they received free treatment. Although money was not lacking in the earlier months, contributions from physicians and friend began to fall of.
Then, owing to the attacks against him and the well – known fact that the majority of the Central Association were on Hahnemanns side, Muller tendered his resignation. In his words of farewell, he emphasized the fact that, although patients were to be treated homoeopathically and the truths of Homoeopathy were to be demonstrated, in the hospital and out – patient department, the prime motive for its organization was the teaching of Homoeopathy to members of the old school. As he was not prepared to give them adequate instruction he was happy to make way for a veteran homoeopath like Schweikert.
Hartmann, who was not a strict homoeopath, took over Mullers duties until Schweikert arrived. Hahnemanns interest and support were at once restored. He even journeyed (in his eightieth year), to Leipsic to inspect the hospital and confer with the directors and his more intimate friends. But while there, he announced that from henceforth he would undertake alone the management of the institution in place of the Board of Directors, which had been appointed by the Central Association.
This action, although it passed without protest from the Association, offended many friends of the new movement and widened the gap between Hahnemanns loyal disciples and the “half homoeopaths.” Moreover. when Hahnemann moved to Paris in June 1935, after writing the Directors that he had no further use for the hospital, his enemies started a crusade against Schweikert and his conscientious assistant, Seidel. Stung by their false accusations and innuendoes, Schweikert resigned. Then came Fickel.
Dr. Fickel was a young allopath who deliberately warmed his way into the confidence of the Leipsic homoeopaths by writing several learned treatises on Homoeopathy, first under an assumed name, later over his own signature. As he wrote after his resignation, “Up to that time I had been never had cause to alter the theories underlying my practice. I was a stranger to the homoeopaths. In order to obtain the supreme leadership of the homoeopathic institution, I had only to make the acquaintance of those homoeopaths who were influential in the affair. To my astonishment this was much easier than I had expected.”
He was proposed by Schumann, the book – seller and a member of the Board, and was immediately appointed, despite the warning that there were stories going about of the “malicious, moral perversion in his relations to homoeopathy.” He served for two years and then resigned, but not until after he had been exposed by Hartmann, Noack and others. And yet, according to Seidel, he had managed the hospital well. He deceived even his closest associate, for many times he had to call Seidel to assist him in selecting a remedy; in other cases that puzzled him, he simply gave a placebo. He confessed in court that he had perpetrated the hoax to obtain evidence that Homoeopathy was a fake.
Whether he was punished or not, our historians do not say, but as soon as he was free, he set about writing against Homoeopathy, making the most of his observation which he consistently twisted to further his purpose. Though not directly responsible for the demise of the hospital, his action brought it still further into disrepute. Hartmann for the second time became Director and treatment under his regime was anything but homoeopathic. He, too, was forced to resign when attacked, chiefly by members of the Central Association. He was succeeded by Dr. Noack who unjustly discharged the faithful Seidel.
On October 4th, 1842, the building was sold to a merchant who agreed to lease a large room on the first floor to Hartmann as a dispensary. Thus did the first homoeopathic hospital pass into oblivion.
Sm. Suchitra Ghosh, aged about 15 years was suffering from vomiting of food during the day – time only. She used to vomit within 10 to 15 minutes of her taking the food, be that of liquid or solid nature. Even the Tea she said, came out. This vomiting, however, caused no depression to her. Now it has become so with me she said that I can vomit at will anytime during day and rather at ease. On being asked, she said that this vomiting has developed with her since last three months when she was cured of her acidity (sour belching, heartburn etc) which had been troubling her since long. For the present trouble of vomiting, she said, she has been under the treatment of an amateur Biochemic practitioner with no good result.
I found her spleen palpable, tongue almost clean. Thirstlessness, diminished yellow urine, heavy constipation, grinding of teeth during sleep and sometimes a dizzy pain in the abdomen were her other symptoms reported.
28-8-55. Chelidonium – 3x, 4 times a day, every after 3 hours, for 2 days. Reported improvement.
3-9-55. Repeated Chel. – 3x for further 2 days in the aforesaid manner. Vomiting completely stopped with appreciable improvement in all other respects. The patient declined to take further medicine as she felt quite O.K., hence I did not persist although I thought of a dose of Sulphur.
Sm. Swapna Sen, aged 22 years of Satyen Roy Road, Cal. 34, developed the habit of chewing food after regurgitating the same. Regurgitation and chewing used to continue intermittently upon an hour or two after her taking the meal. The inmates, particularly, Swapnas mother noticed this unusual happenings but did not care to have her ward medically treated till she was attacked with fever, when I was called to examine. On my asking as to whether Sm. Swapna vomits and – or have a tendency of vomiting before and – or during fever, I was replied in the negative but was reported the aforesaid peculiar habit of regurgitation and chewing which had developed with her since her recovery from gastric trouble last year.
Tongue was found a bit whitish. Stool was hard and loose at the same time, fever with aggravation at noon with intermittent perspiration and a vexing temperament were the symptoms that could be collected.
I gave on the first day (30-8-55) Belladonna-6, 4 doses every after three hours.
Fever subsided to a great extent.
On 31-8-55. Antim Crud-30, thrice daily for 2 days. Reported remission of fever with marked improvement in all respect.
On 2-9-95. Repeated Antim Curd-30, thrice daily for 3 days.
STOOL CAME TO NORMALCY AND THE PECULIAR HABIT OF REGURGITATION & CHEWING VANISHED.
Dr. SUDHIR KUMAR ADHIKARI.