A PRELIMINARY SURVEY OF THREE HUNDRED CASES OF PNEUMONIA AND INFLUENZA FROM THE RECORDS OF THE MASSACHUSETTS MEMORIAL HOSPITALS, THE WESSON MEMORIAL HOSPITAL AND THE WORCESTER HAHNEMANN HOSPITAL.
The suggestion for the survey of the three hundred cases of pneumonia from the records of the Massachusetts Memorial Hospitals, the Wesson Memorial Hospital and the Worcester Hahnemann Hospital was derived from reading the admirable papers prepared by Dr. C.E. Wheeler of London on Hospital Records for the British Homoeopathic Society during the years 1925-1926, as published in the British Homoeopathic Journal (Vol. XV, pps. 71- 105; and Vol. XVI, pps. 138-175).
To more than briefly hint at the treasures uncovered in this exhaustive survey of the records of the London Homoeopathic Hospital, would require more time than is at our disposal in these introductory remarks. It might be well to call attention to a few points brought out in these papers, in view of the preliminary report about to be submitted to the Massachusetts Homoeopathic Medical Society.
In the first place be it understood, the work carried out by Dr. Wheeler was not only sponsored by the British Homoeopathic Society, but was made possible through the generosity of the Beit Research Committee of the British Homoeopathic Association, memorable among the research work of which was the Emanometer Research of Dr. William E. Boyd of Glasgow, which has long since assumed international importance. Dr. Wheelers report was comprised of medical cases only, treated at the London Hospital over a period of thirty years, from 1890 to 1920. Dr. Wheeler carefully explains the fact that the statistical task alone involved in this work required an energy and discrimination worthy of Trojans; and these Dr. Wheeler found in his able assistants in this compilation.
Dr. Wheeler states in his first paper that the cases he has included in his survey have been carefully sifted to include only such as were undeniably cured in the truest sense of the word through the agency of the indicated remedies. This, I regret to say, in our preliminary report is not in any sense of the word the case. We have taken, in fact have been obliged to take out our records without this searching analysis. This is in part owing to lack of time. In the next place, we have no funds for such a careful survey. And finally, I would venture to state that our American prescribers are on the whole less careful (and especially is this the case in recent years) to individualize their cases, hence the diminished value of our present inquiry.
However, we have endeavored to present a survey of these cases with as exact an estimate as possible of the treatment prescribed. I cannot concede that Dr. Wheelers co-workers could have been more whole-hearted and painstaking in their devotion to the Beit Committee hospital reports than have been those who have so generously given of their time for the accomplishment of this our preliminary report. Dr. Wheelers report calls attention to the relative value of potencies of all grades as prescribed in his records stressing more particularly the remedies prescribed and the indications on which they were given; giving equal credit to both high and low potencies.
A few details as to mortality with reference to potencies: The mortality in lobar pneumonia, treatment with low and medium potencies, appears to have been only about one-third that of cases treated with high potencies. Whereas, in broncho-pneumonia, the high potencies would seem to have scored the victory. Dr. Wheeler cites cases in which mixed treatment, that is, vaccines and homoeopathic remedies, were both employed, with the observation that the action of vaccines alone is more dramatic in septic pneumonias than high or low potencies.
His record of one hundred and thirty-one cases, with 21 deaths, a mortality of a little over 16 percent, certainly compares not unfavorably with Oslers 20 to 30 percent. His record of 170 cases of broncho-pneumonia, with 34 deaths, a mortality of 20 percent, compares not unfavorably with a non-homoeopathic mortality of 30 to 50 percent. These latter cases particularly refer to the septic cases of the great epidemics during and following the Great War.
In view of these statistics, it might be well to compare those compiled in this country and reported to the American Institute of Homoeopathy, also those records of cases compiled for the International Hahnemannian Association.
In the second paper Dr. Wheeler reports dramatic results with both high and low potencies, and concludes that for clearly dramatic results we should rely on high potencies. His conclusions with respect to potencies is this: “Surely they show that both high and low potencies can be used with success, and that arrogantly to dismiss either group is to deprive oneself of a weapon of power. We have swung too long, almost like fashions in clothes, from one extreme to the other, and each extreme has disliked and belittled the other. This is absurd”.
And in support of this view, he quotes the late Gibson Miller to the effect that “There is a place for every potency from the tincture to the CM”.
In respect to symptomatic or pathological prescribing, he says: “A high potency touches, I believe, the central mechanism of resistance, not the suffering tissue. A vaccine will do the same and Drs. Teale and Bach can show us plenty to make us think as regards pneumonia”.
As to vaccines in general, he prefers the potentized vaccine to the usual hypodermically injected vaccine. Dr. Wheeler states that as he studies the situation he is impressed with the fact that, as he puts it, “we know already how little responsive is the profession as a whole to clinical results”. Hence our justification in depending more upon remedies used than upon actual mortality rates, in this our present inquiry. “Keep faith”, concludes Dr. Wheeler, “however hard it may prove, in the name of science and homoeopathy”.
I wish to take this occasion to extend my warmest thanks to the chairmen and those who have actually carried out the laborious work of compiling the statistics about to be presented.