I have felt for a long time that, aside from the unpleasantness attendant upon such practice, I should personally rather treat venereal disease than almost any other type of disorder, chiefly by reason of the fact that the proper eradication of the syphilitic miasm and the sycotic miasm would lessen to a large extent the growth and propagation of psora, the arch enemy of all mankind. It was with a good deal of satisfaction, therefore, that, upon the establishment of the Union Rescue Mission Medical Clinic, an opportunity at last presented itself to test this theory.
I had long been of the opinion, and still feel, that the shifting of responsibility in the treatment of venereal diseases to the state or municipal clinics was robbing homoeopathy of one of its greatest opportunities for demonstrating its law of cure, and the loss to suffering humanity was thereby incalculable.
The regular school of practice (the old school of medicine) has, in the meantime made no advanced in treatment, save in the intravenous use of the arsenical preparation, plus the intramuscular injection of mercury, bismuth, etc., in the last one hundred years. The Wassermann reaction has, in a measure, clarified diagnosis, yet there is a large margin of failure in the discovery of deep-seated lues, and unless the patient be treated as a whole his chances of cure, outside of homoeopathy are but meagre indeed.
The late Dr. Wilson of the New York Homoeopathic Medical College and Flower Hospital states, in his work on Nervous Diseases, that cases of lues which manifest well on the surface, e.g., in primary and secondary lesions, are much more curable, and much less likely to develop tertiaries. This bears out the wisdom of Hahnemanns teachings regarding the non-suppressive treatment of this disease, and the treatment of sycosis as well. It is undoubtedly true that Hahnemann, like most of the physicians of his time, was not always conscious of the fact that syphilis and gonorrhea are entirely distinct disease.
He did, however, recognize that there is a syphilitic urethritis, and this I feel sure I have noted in my own experience. Regardless of the time at which it was written, Hahnemanns work on the venereal diseases is masterly, and ranks well when compared with any of the treatises of his contemporaries. In addition to this, it has the distinction of being a forecast of what was latter to become a clear-visioned ideal of its eradication by properly chosen remedies.
In reference works on strict homoeopathy, from the days of Hahnemann, local treatment by astringents or other suppressive measures has been inveighed against. It is only within the last decade or more than the followers of the old school, have begun to recognize this fact, as evidenced by the total discard of astringents by some of the most enlightened investigators, with the use merely of hydrotherapy and such methods as diathermy and the like. Hence the modern use of these milder measures in the treatment of gonorrhoeal fluxes. In a letter written to the journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. P.S. Pelouze, of philadelphia, states that:.
The entire idea of astringents, while the gonococcus is present, is so unsound and antagonistic to Natures means of cure that they should find no place in its treatment. When we consider what Nature tries to do, we will see that astringents are directly opposed to her success. Briefly stated, the patient recovers from gonorrhoea by the destruction of the infecting organisms. This is done largely by the tissues themselves, and our treatment are of value only so far ad they aid these tissue processes. (J.A.M.A., Feb. 28, 1925).
This letter, and its condemnation of the use of astringent injections in gonorrhoea is indeed a classic. It is undoubtedly such sentiments as herein expressed that have modified the thought and practice of the regular school. Had the medical world as a whole but turned the pages of homoeopathic publications it would have there found confirmation not only of the non- suppressive treatment of this disorder, but a superior understanding of its curative therapy. What the writer of the letter mentioned recognizes is not only the dangers of suppressive treatment, but its entire inefficacy. What this writer needs to complete his Neisserian education is the knowledge of what homoeopathy has contributed to its curative therapy. Hahnemanns study of the venereal diseases is a classic for all time.
In the compilation of this brief series of venereal cases treated homoeopathically, I have merely the list of patient whose disease was diagnosed by microscopic examination. The usual mode of procedure was that the case was observed (if gonorrhoea) clinically until the discharge was apparently about to disappear, when another slide was made which prepared the way for its dismissal as cured. In this examination which might vary much as to its duration, it was generally found that the Gram negative or intracellular organisms had disappeared. Some pus and extracellular organisms still remained. When, finally the case was ready for discharge all pus would have disappeared, and but little cellular detritus remained.
If the case became chronic, then a gleety discharge requiring a different type of remedy had to be treated until it was entirely cured. This procedure carried out to its ultimates resulted in cures so definite and complete that repeatedly men patients have married, and in due time healthy children have been born without contamination of their wives. Two very interesting cases illustration this point recur to mind, the records of which might be printed here, were sufficient space at our command.
Before making a summary of the cases included in this report, let me call your attention to two papers on the homoeopathic management of syphilis: first one of the most remarkable citations of case I have ever encountered, namely, a paper by Dr. J.H. Payne, of Boston, in an early number of Dr. William B. Griggs of Philadelphias on his observations in the treatment of lues in its different manifestations, based upon a large clinical experience at the Hahnemann Hospital of Philadelphia. Further- more, the Transactions of the I.H.A. have many contributions to the homoeopathic management of gonorrhoea, as reported by the late Dr. Olin M. Drake of Boston, and other clinicians of equal note. In all these papers opportunity is taken by the essayists to set forth the treatment of the individual expression of the disease, as prior to the disease itself. Thereby is championed the treatment of these conditions just as any other similar disorders are treated-by the law of similars, and in no other way.
In the report that follows a few cases have been selected from the files of the Mission Clinic, and I am greatly indebted to DR. J.N. Hazra, whose loyalty to homoeopathy is unbounded, for the scheme; likewise to Mrs. Horadan, who has taken the time to go through the clinic records, in search of the necessary data.
Hahnemann, in the treatise aforementioned speaks of the contagium of gonorrhoea as “venereal matter”, or as an “irritating poison”, not knowing of course its bacterial identity, as has since his time been found to be associated with the gonococcus. His prevision in respect to the contagion of Asiatic cholera, however, remains one of the most striking examples of its kind ever recorded, for he actually states that, “the cause of this is undoubtedly the invisible cloud.. of probably millions of those miasmatic animated beings.. which, on board ships,” he states, “finds a favourable element for their multiplication, and grow into an enormously increased brood of those excessively minute, invisible, living creatures, so inimical to human life, of which the contagious matter of cholera most probably consists”.
Such fore-vision as this is possessed only by what Dr. Dudgeon has so well ascribed to Hahnemann-that of the master mind. It is not to be wondered at that HAHNEMANN did not foresee every recent discovery of medicine. Especially is this true when we consider that the gonococcus was not isolated by Neisser until the year 1897; and the spirocheta pallida was not isolated until 1905 by Schaudinn.
In fact Lydston, eminent as a syphilologist, speaks as recently as 1899 of syphilis as “due to the infection of the human organism with a peculiar morbific principle, probably a germ of peculiar pathogenic properties, unknown as an entity, but plainly manifest in its pathologic results”.
As long ago as the year 1872, Dr. Bushrod W. James, in his Notabilia written for the Hahnemannian Monthly, states that:.
Small shining bodies are claimed to have been found in patients afflicted with syphilis. Over the surface of the small microscopic particles is sometimes seen projections; and as new bodies are formed by sprouting off from the parent body and thus becoming finally independent ones, it is supposed that these roughened points are the new bodies forming.
No doubt most of the contagious diseases will in time be found to depend upon the prolific multiplication of some microscopic growth of animal or vegetable origin. From Notabilia, by Bushrod W. James, M.D., Philadelphia.
The regular school of practice, since the discovery of the parasitic etiology of syphilis boasts of the better management of the disease. But even their method of grand sterilization, as it is sometimes called, fails to satisfy the thoughtful of their devotes. Nor has the much-talked of treatment of syphilis by the injection of malarial organisms much to offer in support of its efficacy. But this treatment had no professed relationship to the disease save that of the production of an artificial stimulus in the organism through the termic crises through which he patient passed.
After all is said and done what is more comparable in the way of treatment in gonorrhoea and sycosis than remedies suited by similarity to the disease; or what is offered more in accord with curative art than Hahnemanns antisyphilitic remedies so well-tried in this miasm? When a better form of therapy can be demonstrated it is hardly worth saying that the Hahnemannian will embrace such a striking need.
SCHEMA FOR THE ANALYSIS OF TWENTY-FIVE CASES.
This series of cases embraces five cases of syphilis and twenty cases of acute and chronic gonorrhoea.
1. Secondary syphilis Positive Wasserman.
3. Positive gonorrhoea and syphilis.
4. Gonorrhoea and its Paraphymosis complication. 5. Gonorrhoea re-infection.
8. Suppressed gonorrhoea.
9. Gonorrhoea and syphilis and their after-effects
11. Syphilis on gonorrhoeal base
13. Gonorrhoea, chronic
14. Gonorrhoea, chronic
15. Syphilis on a sycotic base
18. Gonorrhoea, chronic
19. Gonorrhoea, chronic
21. Gonorrhoea, chronic
24. Gonorrhoea on a Epididymitis syphilitic base
25. Gonorrhoea, chronic and its complications
26. Gonorrhoea, chronic Gleet and arthritis and its complications
Buboes, secondary lesions all over the body.
Buboes and urethritis.
Gleet and arthritis.
Nit.ac. 30/1, 200/1, 500/1.
Merc. viv. 1M/1.
(Worked out by Dr. Fields Repertory).
Petros. 200/3. Puls. 200/1.
Puls. 200/2, 1M/1.
(Case worked up with the aid of Dr. Fields Repertory).
Discharge cleared up.
Treatment not followed up.
Case not followed up.
Good. Microscopic examination showed less and less G.C.Good.
Treatment not followed up.
In conclusion it may be well to remark that, as a matter of fact, this series is a very meager one to demonstrate the efficacy of Homoeopathy. Yet, aside from the apparent discrepancy, in its summary, as indicated by such expressions as “good,” “improved”, “benefited”, “treatment not followed up”, etc., it may be remarked that many of these cases have returned to the Clinic, after periods of one, two or three years for some entirely different complaint, and upon being questioned as to their previous condition, have almost without exception stated that it so soon cleared up that they found no need to return. Hence the apparent lapses indicated in Dr. Hazras summary.
So striking were the results obtained in a case of chronic syphilitic ulcer of the leg treated at this Clinic some five years ago that Dr. Stuart Close, who once looked over the record stated that he was amazed that there was anywhere such careful work being done in the prescribing for the miasms. He was likewise amazed that there could still be interest in this neglected humanitarian side of medicine.
In this connection it may be well to recall the wise words of Hahnemann on The Venereal Disease and Its Ordinary Improper Treatment.
It is the duty of the physician to cure patients ill of this disease who trust themselves to his care, as object of medicine (like that of legislation) is not so much the prevention of the evils incident to humanity as the correction of those which exist. Medicine should therefore prove itself to be really the helpful art it professes to be in this disgraceful and destructive malady, if it would act up to its pretensions.
Its services should be rendered with all the more facility and certainty in this case, as the venereal disease is one of those happy few that remain always the same with respect both to their origin and nature (and consequently cannot be mistaken at its commencement), and the specific remedy for each separate case remained an eternal problem until homoeopathy solved it.
That Hahnemann appreciated the value of these statements we have ample proof in the masterly survey made by him of the chronic diseases during the remainder of his long and memorable life. The future of medicine so far as venereal diseases are concerned offers much to be hoped for, if the wisdom of the founder of homoeopathy be followed.
DR. W.W. WILSON: I would like to inquire of DR. Woodbury how long, on an average, if he could make an average, these cases persisted, and if they were followed up by microscopic examination toward the end, so that they were called cured?.
DR. B.C. WOODBURY: On these cases we keep, I think, about three slides. The first one was taken when the case was admitted, and the next one would be taken toward the close of the disease. This one generally showed, as I stated, some intracellular organism still remaining. The next one contained no intracellular organisms. There might be a few extracellular organisms, but this was when we were doing more of this work than we are now, followed up by prostatic massage. This slide was taken to make sure. In some cases particularly, I was always glad to have these cases go to other clinics for examination.
I recall very distinctly one case we treated. He went along between two and three months. At the end of that time the slides were clear, and we felt reasonably sure that he was all right. This young man was anxious to get married. He went to a clinic and was thoroughly examined. They could find no gonorrhoea by any method.
DR. W.W. WILSON: With prostatic massage, too?.
DR. B.C. WOODBURY: I think they used the Schwartz-McNeil test on him. He was a very good case, too.
The other case I mentioned was a man who was so closely associated with the clinic work that it was almost embarrassing to have him treated there. But he was treated there and was completely cured and had a very healthy child. Not more than six months ago his wife came to the clinic again in a second pregnancy. I asked whether he had ever had any further trouble, and she said “No”.
As I said, we have not insisted upon the follow-up part of it. I think it would have been an interesting adjunct. I tried to do it before I came away, but we did not have sufficient time. We have repeatedly had those people come back and say, “Oh, I didnt need to come back!” and then they would send others, who would say, “I understood, if we came here, you would cure us of this trouble without injections, and that is why we came”.
DR. W.W. WILSON: You didnt run over two or three months?.
DR. B.C. WOODBURY: Not very long. I had cases of chronic gleet. I took a case from DR. Kimball, at his death, a man who had had two or three attacks of gonorrhoea. It was two or three years after I took him before he was cured. But he was absolutely cured, and I have seen him since. He never had the slightest return in all that time. I believe it can be done.
DR. A.H. GRIMMER: I want to confirm Dr. Woodburys findings. I am certain that it can be done. I am certain that a great many of our homoeopathic practitioners are doing it right along and have been doing it.
Regarding the Wassermann, I would advise him not to pin too much faith on the accuracy of the Wassermann diagnosis. The old school have already a complementary test to go with it. You can take the same patient and get a Wassermann free finding in that patient after he is treated a while with your homoeopathic remedies. Sometimes you have to treat him two or three years, however, to bring that about.
You may have to follow the guidance of the Organon in certain cases, where you will find even the patients with complications that Hahnemann sometimes mentioned have miasms. Especially in individuals who have been abused by old school treatment, you will frequently find the blending of the miasms, where one remedy will show up in its symptomatology and then the case will be stationary and another remedy will show up. Those are the cases that attack the ingenuity of even the best prescribers, but there is absolutely not question but that Dr. Woodburys findings are accurate and absolutely correct.
DR. W.W. WILSON: I am not doubting Dr. Woodburys findings at all. I have been called upon to treat a very few cases of gonorrhoea. I very seldom see a case of it. Those I have treated have always been treated with homoeopathic remedies. My difficulty is, as Dr. Woodbury says, the cases get along, the discharge grows less and less, and the patient is not apt to come back. I do not think I have ever been able to follow one through to its ultimate, as far as I could see. I have never treated a case with any injection of any kind. When Dr. Woodbury spoke of using single doses, and so on, I wondered how long his cases persisted, because the cases that I have treated have persisted for quite a long period of time.
I had one interesting case with the chronic conditions. It was one that no doubt is often met, one of apparent chronic rheumatism. It would not respond. It localized in the knees. No doubt lots of our members have such cases. I could not do anything with the fellow. He was a married man and had three grown daughters. Finally one day I asked him, just on the spur of the moment, “Have you every had gonorrhoea?”
He hesitated a minute, and then said “No”. I turned my back and walked to the door and put up some powdered Thuja for him. The next morning he said, “why, doctor, I cant tell you how much better my knees are this morning!” Presently he said, “Just close the door, will you?” And I laughed again. Then he said, “I lied to you yesterday. I had gonorrhoea when I was seventeen years old.” He was forty then. There you had the thing. Presumably he had been treated by injection.
We do often find those things. We know very well that in war times many cases recurred when the men were put at laborious work, digging trenches, and they hardened up. Then there was the extreme regularity of their system up at a certain hour, breakfast at a certain hour, lunch at a certain hour, dinner at a certain hour, bed at a certain hour. Certainly many, many cases recurred at that time.
I know at Camp Meridian, New Jersey, the leader of our Glee Club asked the fellow one night if they would to over and sing to these fellows. He said, “It is a shame. They are isolated. They are all of by themselves. Even officers are put in there. They wont have their stripes.” They went to that camp under guard. There were two armed soldiers who conducted them to the gate, and they were put in there. It seemed a shame because many of those cases were cases of recurrence rather than acute cases.
I say again that i was not questioning Dr. Woodburys testimony at all, because the cases that I have treated myself were treated homoeopathically.
DR. B.C. WOODBURY: I think it is very true, as Dr. Wilson says, that it is not such a simple matter as it seems, because we do hear people say they think of gonorrhoea as nothing more than a common cold and that it will get well itself.