PRESERVING LIFE IN ACUTE DISEASES OF THE ABDOMEN


Doubtless it is the duty of the true physician to endeavor to eradicate the chronic condition before it gives rise to the violent attack of acute trouble which we all dread to see. No physician, however skilful he may be, is always able to do this. Many times his first call to the patient is made, when an attack of terrible pain has made the attendance of a physician necessary.


It has been very truly said that acute diseases are the sudden exaggerations of chronic disturbances of the vital forces. Manifestly it is also true, that the acute disease is more immediately dangerous to life than the deep-seated diseased condition, which is the starting point for the acute attack, in itself so alarming. Doubtless it is the duty of the true physician to endeavor to eradicate the chronic condition before it gives rise to the violent attack of acute trouble which we all dread to see. No physician, however skilful he may be, is always able to do this. Many times his first call to the patient is made, when an attack of terrible pain has made the attendance of a physician necessary.

The acute diseases of the abdomen are noted for their sudden onslaught and their rapid development. This is easily explained. In the abdomen we have an ideal field for rapid growth, heat, moisture and gases. This combination, unless quickly cured, leads to the formation of pus and gangrene, and when these end-products have formed, they very quickly become a terrible menace to life. The young and vigorous person is more prone to develop these acute states of disease than the older, more mature person, therefore the dire result of a failure to recognize and cope with the situation seems more tragic.

This is true Hahnemannian teaching, for in paragraphs III and Iv of the Organon Hahnemann says:.

“When the physician knows the obstacles to recovery in each case and how to remove them, he is prepared to act thoroughly and to the purpose, as a true master of healing.

“He is at the same at preserver of health when he knows the causes that disturb health, that produce and maintain disease, and when he knows how to remove them from healthy persons”.

Not all cases of acute abdominal trouble proceed to suppuration. How then can we tell definitely when pus is forming: by determining the amount of leucocytosis in each individual case. It has been discovered that leucocytosis always takes place in the formation of pus.

If we find by a process of careful elimination of every other locality, which is a possible seat for trouble, that the acute manifestation is confined to the abdomen, we know where the origin of the disease is.

The normal number of leucocytes is about 6000 to 7000; when inflammation is present they increase rapidly to 12,000, and from that point the red flag of danger is out. If the count goes above 16,000 we know that pus is localizing and the higher the count above 16,000 the more urgent the case becomes. Before this discovery, the physician was often deceived into thinking his patient was improving, for with the localizing of the pus, the temperature would drop and the pain become less, but with this seeming improvement, the danger of a fatal result increases. Then it is that we should exercise good surgery, for we know as the Organon before quoted says “the obstacle to recovery and how to remove it” and should operate and thereby preserve the life until we have time to cure the patient.

The following cases which have come under my care during the past winter, will illustrate my feeling in regard to these dangerous cases. Upon our alertness and ability to direct the preservation of life, depends our success as general practitioners of medicine.

PATIENT NO. 1.

Walked into my office, having come from a wedding; a large, well-framed man, fifty years of age, whom I have known for years, now very much stooped and apparently in acute pain. He told me this pain had come on very suddenly, and was located in the left side of the abdomen, when it first began three hours before. It was paroxysmal in type; was relieved by bending over upon it. His temperature was one degree below normal.

H.A. Roberts
Dr. H.A.Roberts (1868-1950) attended New York Homoeopathic Medical College and set up practrice in Brattleboro of Vermont (U.S.). He eventually moved to Connecticut where he practiced almost 50 years. Elected president of the Connecticut Homoeopathic Medical Society and subsequently President of The International Hahnemannian Association. His writings include Sensation As If and The Principles and Art of Cure by Homoeopathy.