Remedies sometimes prove diagnostic by their action. Cases of spurious pregnancy are sometimes very difficult to diagnose, and have deceived some of the very best gynaecologists. I was once deceived thus myself, about eight or ten years ago, in a case where there were almost all the symptoms of pregnancy, and in which I was afterwards informed the same mistake had been made some years before by the patients usual physician.
It has occurred to me that in such cases, remedies would help the diagnosis, and that it might be useful to try the effect of one of these eight remedies (Con., Croc., Carlsbad, Lac defl., Puls., Sepia, Sulph. and Thuja) or of any others which may be found to have the same symptoms, carefully selected according to the totality of the symptoms.
Another use of remedies as diagnosticators also occurs to me. About four or five years ago, a colleague asked me to see a patient for him for a week or two. There were throat symptoms, and he told me that his diagnosis was “hysteria” and that he had given Lachesis but without much benefit. I found Lachesis was certainly the similimum (and this selection was confirmed later, as I was informed, by one of our oldest homoeopathicians) but I could get very little benefit from it.
Had the patient been under my own care, I should have suggested a consultation with the throat specialists, Dr. Morrell Mackenzie, not of course for treatment, but for diagnosis, as I did not believe it was only a case of hysteria. But as she was not my patient, and as, moreover my colleague belonged to the great infallible tribe and might have felt offended, I did not suggest it. I did not of course see her again, but I was informed that she eventually died, not of hysteria but of cancer of the larynx with pulmonary complications. When the best selected remedy fails to relieve except temporarily, be suspicious of fatal, possibly malignant disease.