The Homoeopathic Surgical Viewpoint Abroad – The British Homoeopathic Journal for October, 1926, contains as its leading article “A Series of One Hundred and Thirty-five Consecutive Abdominal Sections with Mortality Statement and Comments on Special Cases,” by Edwin A. Neatby, M.D., consulting physician for diseases of women to the London Homoeopathic Hospital.
Dr. Neatby, whose surgical ability is well-known, both in England and the United States, among homoeopathic physicians, proceeds thus -.
“The object of this collection of cases is not to enable me to boast of a phenomenally low mortality, but to give a general idea of methods and treatment adopted by myself in the gynaecological department of the London Homoeopathic Hospital and in private work.
There were five deaths in the series, a percentage of 3.7. It would have been easy to lessen the percentage by including a large number of comparatively minor abdominal operations, such as ventri-suspensions and appendicectomies”.
Under the caption Treatment and with reference to medicinal therapy solely, Dr. Neatby goes on to say -.
“A few words on medicinal treatment must bring my paper to an end.
As to fibroids, though we regard them as ultimates in some obscure biological process, I think there is more hope of benefit by medicine of one kind or another in treating than there is in ovarian tumours, though we still know very little as to the aetiology of them. The fact that they develop during the period of reproductive activity, and that they either induce or follow relative sterility leads to the conclusion that they owe their origin to a disturbance of endocrine balance. This view is supported by the frequent diminution of these tumours after the menopause. I have used a variety of glandular preparations without being able to convince myself that any of them has a specific effect.
If the tumour is producing no mechanical effect, and is not otherwise injuring a patients health, I think, in view of their technical innocence, it is justifiable to experiment with drugs. Certain remedies are undoubtedly of use in checking haemorrhage unless it be due to a submucous fibroid in process of expulsion. The most successful in my hands have been calcium salts – the carbonate, phosphate and iodide. I do not think the lactate has any advantage over the others.
These probably act by increasing the coagulability of the blood. It is a pity some one does not test this. Secale, aurum, platinum, phosphorus, hydrastinin and trillium are other remedies I use frequently. The indications for them are the same as in other cases of uterine haemorrhage. Less frequently I use sabina, crocus and murex purpurea. I have seen relief to bleeding and improvement of general health follow the use of these drugs, and I have at the same time watched the tumours owned by these patients steadily grow notwithstanding. The same is true when the prescriber has been a better homoeopathist than myself.
A similar remark will apply to the use of X-rays for fibroids. I have watched their steady growth while experts have been using the rays. This treatment nevertheless has a sphere – acting probably by reducing ovarian activity. I have sent a few symptomless fibroids to our X-ray department, and reduction in size has taken place. About the ultimate fate of these tumours I cannot speak from personal knowledge. A similar reduction used to follow oophorectomy thirty years ago, but the control so induced was often only temporary, and the method has of course been abandoned; though I notice that in one of my series it was carried out because the patient could not stand a long operation.
X-rays do not affect submucous growths, and consequently are excluded from the very cases where such a palliative would be valuable. For pedunculated subperitoneal tumours their only value seems to be in inducing degenerative changes (through reduced nutrition) which necessitate a radical operation!.
The other uses of homoeopathic medicines are before and after operation – before, by way of preparation. Arnica or (after severe bleeding) ferri protoxalate in half-grain doses; to lessen chloroform sickness phosphorus or (since Dr. Henderson Patricks paper) rhus tox. After operation according to the condition: action, bell., or chamomilla for sleeplessness or excessive pain. For the last-named I do not scruple to give a dose sedative. For retention of urine, gelsem. or causticum; if retention follows on catheterism I give cantharis. Strophanthus is useful (half a dozen doses) for a pulse too rapid, but not due to fever or sepsis.
Happily very little medication is needed after a clean operation.
I do not think any drug is of use for ovarian tumours, in spite of a few much quoted cases in our literature, but palliatives may be very valuable for complications or in preparing for operation.
For the rest, ladies and gentlemen, if you ask me what to do for such cases, I can only say with Hahnemann, study the materia medica – sound, but cheap advice”.
These frank and extremely refreshing statements are greatly to be applauded for their evident sincerity and truthfulness. Here we have a surgeon, whose experience is long and unquestioned, who does not hesitate to state his confidence in the action of our homoeopathic remedies, when properly applied, under suitable conditions and circumstances, in diseases universally regarded as surgical in nature.
This happy blending of mechanical skill with the art of homoeopathic prescribing, is an inspiration, particularly to the younger surgical aspirants of our school, whose abject worship at the glittering shrine of Modern Surgery, has completely blinded them to the advantages to be possessed by a resort to the gentler art of homoeopathic medicinal therapy.
These Gallstone Cases. – A man of 72, with a history of numerous gallstone attacks, presented himself with more pain than usual, located in the region of the gall bladder and in the back upon the right side. Indications for usual remedies, such as Berberis, Chelidonium, Nux vomica, etc., were not apparent, hence cholesterin 12x was given, a powder every thirty minutes for three doses and then every two hours. But in two hours the patient was seized by a violent chill and we found him agitated, thirsty and plainly apprehensive.
The remedy was stopped and a few doses of Aconite 200th were now given, while possible operation upon an inflamed and possibly septic gallbladder was kept in mind. Within a very few hours both chill and pain had practically ceased, sweat had come on, icterus was showing itself and the crisis had passed. Cholesterin was then resumed, but at much longer intervals.
The case is of interest and the experience instructive. The indications for Aconite, were to be sure, classically positive; the administration of Cholesterin, frankly experimental. Experientia docet! Time and again however, we have had good results from cholesterin 6x or 12x in cholecystitis and urge upon our brother (and sister) prescribers the advisability of testing this unproved remedy. Cholecystitis is likely, upon occasion, to become highly dramatic and then the surgeon must play his part, but the prescriber must always hover in the wings, ready to take his cue upon a moments notice, for rarely does the hepatic drama proceed to conclusion without him.
A Statement Which Bears Repetition. – At the opening of the International Post-Graduate Course in Homoeopathy for Physicians, held in the Homoeopathic Hospital of Stuttgart, Germany, in September, 1926, Dr. Emil Schlegel, that veteran homoeopath of Tubingen, famous for its university, delivered an address entitled, “Program of Homoeopathy, its Principles and Boundaries.” concerning diagnosis, Dr. Schlegel states:.
“Now here we come to the conflict between the principles of the healing art and diagnosis; after all, we are physicians and I emphasize in the first place, that the entire field of knowledge of disease, is known to us. It is a source of pleasure to us, to correlate the single case of disease, with our general medical knowledge and to fix the diagnosis accordingly.
But this conception has its dangers, for it departs from the natural disease picture and presents as it were, to the natural symptomatology, a negative, a departure from the truth, as I said before. Hahnemann in his therapeutic endeavors, had nothing to do with diagnosis, the conception of which does not lie in the straight line between the field of observation of pharmaco- dynamics and that of pathology; diagnosis is often arrived at through well known sources of error, which for example, occur during the employment of methods of deep diagnostic search; diagnosis is not necessary for the simple purpose of homoeopathic cure; but is essential to the task of scientifically classifying disease schematically.
Even prognosis depends less upon diagnosis, as one might be inclined to think. The ordinary conception of diagnosis threatens the freedom of the physicians ideas. Our diagnosis ought to be, as were those of Rademacher, a diagnosis of the curative remedy only”.
“PURSUIT OF CLINICAL RESEARCH.
So far I have spoken of scientific knowledge and method, as applied to the recognition, control, and treatment of disease, but what I particularly wish to emphasise is the fact that the clinical observer has abundant opportunities for the study of disease as seen in the human subject – in other words, for the pursuit of clinical research. Much of the knowledge so obtained is not to be had from experiments on animals; for a human patient can describe his sensations with greater or less accuracy, and can tell us of the medical history of himself and his family. Such work as that on the sensory nerves which we associate with the name of that great observer, Henry Head, could not be done in any other way.