EDITORIAL NOTES AND COMMENTS


A short time ago a homoeopathic physician in one of the rural districts of the State of New York was taken to task by the State Department of Health because he had not used antitoxin in his treatment of several cases of diphtheria, occurring in one family, and because these cases had died of what appeared to the Department to be sheer neglect of modern therapeutic measures.


THE IOWA SITUATION ONCE AGAIN.- Believing that what has happened in Iowa is of vital concern to homoeopathic physicians everywhere, we herewith publish, in part, an editorial by Dr.George Royal, in the April issue of the Iowa Homoeopathic Journal. The italics are our own and are used to emphasize the truly deplorable attitude of homoeopathic physicians toward the school and its interests. Thus speaks Doctor Royal, who, as is well known, is not given to the habit of making ill-advised or unsupportable statements:

“The legislature, as we predict it would, passed the bill for providing dollar 2,500,000 to be added to a similar amount for the purpose of making the State University of Iowa at Iowa City, through its College of Medicine, a medical center for the middle west. As we understand it the greater part of the two and a half million appropriated by the state will be used for the purpose of erecting buildings, especially hospital facilities, where research work of all kinds along medical lines may be conducted; while the money given by the Rockefeller will be used to pay salaries, furnish equipment and supply material for the work.

In our interview with President Jessup and other officials of S.U.I. reported in last months Journal we were given to understand that a laboratory for homoeopathic research work would be established and maintained should the bill pass. We have no doubt now about that part of the program. There is little doubt either in our mind about the legislature passing the appropriation bill for the dollar 30,000 for the Department of Homoeopathic Materia Medica and Therapeutics to enable the Board of Education to employ a competent head of that department with a competent corps of assistants.

“With this opportunity given to the Homoeopaths of Iowa a most important, in fact a vital question, will confront every one of us who claim to be Homoeopaths. That question is: What will be our attitude towards the Department? Upon our reaction to this question will, in a large measure, depend the future of Homoeopathy in Iowa, and to a lesser degree of the nation.

As was told us of the legislative committee, not only this year, but in former years, was the fact that at first our College, and later our Department, was not supported by the homoeopathic profession of the state as it should have been. The fact was acknowledged that the College and Department had not been supported by the University officials as they should have been, but on the other hand it was also a fact that Homoeopaths , some of them state officials, other high in our state association, sent their sons to the other college. This act on the part of these Homoeopaths influenced the authorities to a certain extent.

“To be sure, what has been true of the Homoeopaths of Iowa has been true of them elsewhere. A former dean of a homoeopathic college sent his son to an old school college. The excuse given by one was that he wanted to make an insurance examiner of his son and that his chances were better if he graduated from an old school. An Iowa homoeopathist told us that with him it was simply a matter of dollars and cents, that his son was going to be a specialist and that he had been promised a position with a prominent firm of specialists if he would go and graduate in the other school. This man closed his interview with this statement: You know I can teach him his homoeopathic materia medica”.

The story told has a familiar, if unsavoury ring, and is an illuminating commentary upon the status homoeopathic as we have come to know it, during the past few years especially. We now understand that-

“On Thursday, April 12th, the legislature, in cutting the appropriation which had been asked for by the board of education for the state schools, included the dollar 30,000 a year for the department of Homoeopathic Materia Medica and Therapeutics”.

Thus passes homoeopathy in Iowa, thanks to its own supposedly friendly supporters, who, by their own vacillating, uncertain and lukewarm conduct, have permitted a great opportunity for the future development of the science of homoeopathy to be lost, perhaps forever. Will homoeopaths ever learn that God helps those who help themselves and that they cannot expect their old-school confreres to respect a cause which they themselves are evidently ashamed of.

If organized homoeopathy continues to fail, as it has so palpably failed within recent years, it had better disband entirely and leave to individuals of strength and enthusiasm a task for which it is manifestly unfitted.

HOMOEOPATHY ON THE PACIFIC COAST-

We print in its entirety the editorial from the May issue of the Pacific Coast Journal of Homoeopathy. The italics are our own.

“In this issue will be found a very interesting symposium on Eczema, its pathology, symptomatology, electrical and X-Ray treatment. But why no Homoeopathic treatment, for it we cant treat eczema homoeopathically we may as well give up. Ah! the homoeopathic treatment was given in the symposium as presented before the Los Angeles Society, but the essayist failed to write out his notes for publication, and no one has been able to get him to do it, so we present the incomplete symposium.

“We are also publishing Dr.F.H.Cookinhams paper on Appendicitis in Children, given one year ago before the State Society. This is an excellent paper and deserved to be published months ago, but we have held it back waiting for its companion paper-Homoeopathic Remedies in Appendicitis, but one year has not sufficed to accomplish it.

“How can we publish a homoeopathic journal without homoeopathic papers? By all means turn in the homoeopathic papers for publication even at the expense of leaving the others out.

“For many years John D. Rockefeller has had a homoeopath as his personal physician; yet have any homoeopathic institutions received financial aid from the Rockefeller Foundation? The President of the United States has a homoeopath as his personal physician; has anything been done to modify the Volstead act so as to allow the homoeopathic laity to purchase a dram of aconite 3x at the pharmacy? And when the Presidents wife was carried successfully through a severe illness, did homoeopathy get any applause? No! Her recovery was credited to the prayers of the people. Hide not your light under a bushel. If homoeopathy is to get anywhere, it had better begin soon to toot its own horn”.

A familiar lament indeed and one likely to be repeated, so long as the homoeopathic school of medicine is ashamed of its homoeopathic character. So many of our physicians have become so ultra-scientific that they have lost sight of the only really scientific law of cure, similia similibus curantur. Why physicians who ought to and really do know better, will eternally pursue the fleeting and every-changing mirage of old-school therapy, is beyond our comprehension, unless it is that these men have a sneaking suspicion that in concerning themselves with homoeopathy they are reverting to an outworn, no-longer-popular cause.

To us it seems, and the remark is based upon abundant observation, that homoeopathy is no longer “good form.” To follow the crowd is easy and remunerative as well; perhaps the rub is really here and the whole question resolves itself into an economic one. But is there not a higher, altruistic aim which should govern us? Do we really obtain satisfactory by “doping” our patients from one disease into another?

How many homoeopaths treat skin diseases in accordance with Hahnemannian principles? Very few dermatologists do, at all events! Is the homoeopathic conception of psora purely mythical? Is there no such thing as the suppression of disease? If Hahnemann was all wrong about these matters, if his faithful followers are also wrong, is it not about time that they were set right and that our misconceptions were corrected?.

Why have no homoeopathic institutions received aid from the Rockefeller Foundation? An explanation would make interesting reading and among other things would reveal the lamentable fact that homoeopaths have never been united on any question of importance. Small wonder then that they cannot enlist the support of well-meaning but bewildered lay friends, who finally turn in utter disgust to some other cause which at least gives promise of harmonious advancement.

The good old ship “Homoeopathy” is floundering hard in greatly troubled seas and the crew seems unfamiliar with the rigging. The Union Jack is flying upside down, but as yet no friendly vessel is hastening to give aid. The officers of the ship are apparently paying more attention to the brightness of their uniforms and are basking in the reflected dazzling light of brass buttons, when in reality they should be setting an example to the crew by manning the pumps.

By all means let us “toot our own horn,” but before we begin the sonata, let us make sure that the instruments are fit to play upon, for otherwise the resultant discordant jangle will continue to be confusion worse confounded.

HOMOEOPATHY IN ENGLAND.-

The last quarterly number of The British Homoeopathic Journal contains several valuable and interesting articles upon practical subjects dealing with materia medica and therapeutics. Of particular interest are the exhaustive discussions of homoeopathic remedies in surgical conditions, and it is most refreshing, as well as encouraging, to read the frank testimony of our British colleagues regarding the use of phosphorus before operation, as a prophylactic of chloroform sickness, or to hear the praises of rhus tox. in abdominal operations sung, or to learn that calendula is relied upon as a pain reliever and healing agent, following tonsillectomy.

Hypericum in amputations or in injuries of parts rich in sentient nerves is also favorably commented upon and the use of pyrogen and crotalus horridus in septic states is freely discussed. Even the high potencies, such as the 200th, 10m, and cm, are mentioned with a nonchalance as through their use is a matter of settled routine procedure.

Truly, young Jonathan will have to look to his homoeopathic laurels, or his cousin Johnny Bull will soon surpass him in the homoeopathic marathon. Shades of Helmuth, where do we today, in these sterilized United States, find our surgeons engaged in Jahr and Crosserio has been relegated to the limbo of forgotten things, while hypericum is left to a few old Hahnemannian fossils, who still think that there is something in the homoeopathic law! Our societies have become so “gosh-dinged” highbrow, that the mere materia medicist must sit in respectful silence and twiddle his lowbrow thumbs.

We Americans are restless lot, always ahead of the procession, sometimes so far ahead that we forget entirely what we are marching for, especially when the brass band plays furiously to help us “whoop her up”! But we might with much profit to ourselves copy some of the things done by the slower but more methodical Englishman or by the painstaking and thorough German. There is far too much of the “get rich-quick” spirit about us; we are too much imbued with the notion that “anything goes,” so long as what we consider a desirable end is achieved. We need the brakes of much sober thinking, as well as less tinsel and camouflage.

THERAPY IN CHRONIC DISEASE.-

Under the above title, Albert E. Man, M.D., contributes an interesting article to the Medical Review of Reviews in its May issue and among other things says:

“Regardless of the organ or organs affected, the treatment of long standing ailments is usually a formidable undertaking. In acute conditions we are confronted with a battle between normal cells on the one hand and an invading or irritating agent on the other. If it so happens that we understand the underlying pathology in a given case, our efforts may be intelligently directed toward an effort to assist nature, the great healer.

“The conditions that confront us in chronic diseases are quite different. Here we have a fire that has burned itself out, with the exception perhaps of a smouldering focus. The symptoms for which the patient seeks relief are due to changes of a more or less permanent nature, such as metabolic after-effects and consequent disabilities. We often find that nature has been too lavish in her expenditure of reparative material, and has bequeathed the sufferer with a wealth of adhesive scar tissue or other hyper-plastic impedimenta, causing pains of a lancinating, burning, aching or dragging nature.

In addition we usually find exhaustion of vital agents such as blood cells, hemoglobin, and the various mineral salts so important in the economy of the tissues. Depletion of the endocrine secretions is usually a factor, and occasionally we find a gland over-secreting, thus complicating the symptoms often characterized by the term functional neuroses. There is always a pathological reason for a pathological nervous phenomenon, and the physician who is satisfied with a diagnosis of functional neurosis is either too lazy to find the cause or is badly behind the times.

“It therefore follows that the successful treatment of chronic diseases depends primarily on an accurate diagnosis. Granted that the physician has before him the laboratory reports, and a complete history of the case, has made a thorough examination, and is satisfied that he understand the mechanism of the factors that enter into the situation before him, he is ready to proceed with treatment.

“Let us pause now and take an inventory of that portion of our therapeutic armamentarium which is applicable to the treatment of chronic diseases. There are very few useful drugs available. Chemical agents which mask symptoms such as opiates, bromides, coal-tar derivatives, etc., may be practically eliminated for obvious reasons. Stimulants should be resorted to but occasionally. The few valuable drugs available are iron, arsenic, the iodides, the salicylic acid derivatives rarely, and some gland extracts. Symptomatic disturbances may at times require other drugs, but rarely do we find a drug which can be depended upon to change the course of a chronic disease with the exception of digitalis in certain cardiac conditions”.

Well said indeed, and only too true! The market is flooded with pluriglandular remedies of the “shotgun” variety and those who use them have no intelligent idea of how far the shot will scatter, or what, if anything, it will hit. The time must come when all the endocrines are subjected to careful provings in accordance with the methods of homoeopathy, for then these therapeutic agents can be used scientifically and will be lifted out of the realm of empirical exploitation.

So “the few valuable drugs available are iron, arsenic, the iodides, the salicylic acid derivatives rarely, and some gland extracts.” Furthermore, “rarely do we find a drug which can be depended upon to change the course of a chronic disease with the exception of digitalis in certain cardiac conditions”.

Careful homoeopathic prescriber will not agree with all of the last statement, for in addition to iron and arsenic, drugs which we too are glad to acknowledge as valuable, especially when subjected to the exclusively homoeopathic method of potentiation, we have many others, the curative virtues of which are altogether unknown to our friends of the dominant school. Such remedies as calcarea carbonica, pulsatilla, sepia, silicea, sulphur and a veritable host of others are capable of changing the course of chronic disease, always provided, however, that the latter has not progressed too far along the path of gross pathologic change.

In speaking of “gland therapy” Man says:

“When a patient presenting a well developed disturbance of a pluriglandular nature is encountered, it is easier to prescribe a gunshot remedy than to discover the original malefactor. This being the case, the treatment is exploited as a diagnostic measure, rather than the more scientific and likewise more tedious method requiring an exhaustive anamnesis, a great deal of experience and a thorough examination”.

ARSENICUM-

An Illustration.-Dr.X, a graduate of the old school, who, convinced of its scientific character, had come over to homoeopathy, was taken ill as the result of exposure to a cold west wind, while insufficiently clad. He began to complain of abdominal pain, flatulence and distension, complete anorexia and thirst for cold drinks; the bowels were confined, tongue coated white with red edges; the pulse became accelerated and there was a slight rise of temperature.

This condition continued for several days, growing worse steadily, when, on account of the constipation, a mild laxative was taken, followed by unsatisfactory, watery stools. No remedies of any kind were taken. When seen on the sixth day, this symptom picture was still more pronounced; tympanitic distension of the abdomen and exquisite tenderness over the left lumbar and left inguinal quadrants was present, so that palpation and percussion had to be done with great gentleness. The patient was very restless, especially at night, sleepless and complained of weakness, at the same time desiring to go from bed to couch and from couch to chair; he was irritable and plainly anxious.

The thirst for cold, acidulated drinks, but in small amounts, continued. Arsenicum album 200, in water, a teaspoonful every three hours, brought practically immediate relief to the pain and whole condition. No adjuvant treatment was employed. Later, on account of the continuance of the thirst, phosphorus, which is complementary to arsenicum, was given, a few doses only and in the 200th potency.

Although the severe pain and suffering had been relieved, there remained several days later an area of tenderness in the left lumbar quadrant of the abdomen; gentle percussions showed dullness and it was recognized that a surgical condition now obtained.

The tentative diagnosis, made by the surgeon who was called,was a diverticulitis, with pus formation in all probability. The possibility of malignancy was also borne in mind. X-ray examination was negative, and no leucocytosis was found on examination of the blood. Chills were absent, there was no rise of temperature above ninety-nine degrees and no leucocytosis upon repeated blood examinations until three days after the tentative diagnosis had been made, when the leucocyte count showed 20,000 and the temperature rose to 101.

Operation was done, the abdomen opened and a large quantity of foul-smelling pus was removed. The infection proved to be a colon bacillus type. Recovery was uneventful, without complications of any kind. Calcarea sulphurica 10m was given for the suppurative process.

At no time was the intestinal canal involved. The interesting features of this case are the absence until shortly before operation of the usual signs which denote the formation of pus; the unusual location, in the male at least, of abscess formation; the relief of all subjective symptoms by the arsenicum especially and the absence of individualizing symptoms when the abscess cavity had walled itself off and had become fully circumscribed. Also the entire harmony which existed between the employment of the homoeopathically indicated remedy in its proper sphere and the surgical intervention which logically followed.

Calcarea sulphurica is always to be thought of in the treatment of abscesses when the latter have been opened or are freely discharging.

“ANAPHYLAXIS AND HEART FAILURE IN DIPHTHERIA.-

Scholzs patient, aged 31, who had been injected eight and a half years previously with diphtheria antitoxin, was treated for diphtheria with an intramuscular injection of 3000 units of serum. Twelve days later urticaria set in, and three hours later complete collapse. No heart sounds were present. Camphorated ether revived the patient. Three hours later a new attack of urticaria was followed by weak pulse and disturbances of the sensorium. Inhalation of ether restored the patient again. Several similar attacks were stopped by inhalations of ether, and the patient finally recovered. Scholz points out the resemblance…. of this anaphylactic condition to the sudden death in diphtheria, and recommends the use of ether.”-J.A.M.A.

Anaphylaxis and its phenomena is a matter of great importance for physicians to consider, especially so far as the use of diphtheria antitoxin is concerned. The homoeopathic school has side-stepped the diphtheria-antitoxin issue, feeling no doubt that “he who fights and runs away, may live to fight another day”! However, this policy of studied evasion, although it follows the easiest way, will never settle anything and on the contrary serves to justify the criticism of our old-school friends that homoeopaths are contributing nothing to the general advance of science.

A short time ago a homoeopathic physician in one of the rural districts of the State of New York was taken to task by the State Department of Health because he had not used antitoxin in his treatment of several cases of diphtheria, occurring in one family, and because these cases had died of what appeared to the Department to be sheer neglect of modern therapeutic measures.

Although this unfortunate incident was most tactfully handled by the authorities and no open criticism of the homoeopathic school was voiced, nevertheless the school is bound to suffer by implication. We do not know the more intimate details of this case, but certain questions naturally arise: For example, did this homoeopathic physician use high or low potencies? Did he prescribe correctly, i.e., homoeopathically? Did he employ adjuvants of any kind, either local or general?.

In this day and age, for any homoeopathic physician to refuse to use antitoxin in diphtheria means that he must be prepared to show that he can produce results equally as good, if not better, with his own remedies. The responsibility which he assumes is indeed a weighty one. We believe that an expert prescriber, with high potencies, can always equal the results obtained with antitoxin, but we have no statistical evidence to prove the truth of our contention. Mere personal experience will not suffice, however reassuring it may be.

Rabe R F