Focal infection is a subject that is pretty much loaded with dynamite and it is loaded with dynamite particularly in this sort of organization. There is such a thing as focal infection, but i feel that focal infection also covers a multitude of sins and it has appealed to me, as I have practised medicine, that focal infection, as the term is used by the old school, is really nothing more nor less than psora in 90 percent of the cases.
The old school hasnt any word or any method of approach to appreciate the underlying dyscrasia of the patient and, for want of something better, they have said, “focal infection”. In that sense I think we are perfectly right when, as so many of us do, we deny such a thing as focal infection as the cause of disease, but, on the other hand, I think there are some cases which are really due to what we might call focal infection which, in a real sense, should be limited to those cases in which there is a distinct place in the body where there is a poison-producing center.
That poison-producing center is a center of disease and products which have been deposited in the body because of some failure of the constitution or failure of the physiology to take care of them.
Gall-stones may be an instance of focal infection because gall- stones, as far as we know today (although at present, due to the work of some very fine old school scientists, we are beginning to change our idea of them) are due to a failure of the physiology of the body, a failure to take care of the normal secretions of the bile, with a consequent infection and a consequent deposit of these salts.
Another place where you may have focal infection is at the root of a dead tooth; a tooth dies or is killed. It dies because it decays. It decays become of some fault in the care of the teeth or the diet, or the physiology of the person, and, having died, it becomes a foreign body and at the base of that foreign body we find trouble.
Another place where we may have focal infection (and this is very much abused, I think) is in the tonsils. There isnt any doubt that some tonsils are, as the result of long-standing disease, definitely filled with the end products. When you get a condition like that, I think it is a real menace to the health of the person and I think that our chances of cure are much increased by the removal of the offending thing which is really a cause of continued disability, due to the irritation of its presence, to the infective bacteria which it holds.
I know that some people today are chary about acknowledging these bacteria. I want to call your attention to the fact that the first man to call attention to defective organisms was Hahnemann. If you read especially his prescription for ship fever, cholera on ships, you will find that he distinctly says it is due to living organisms spreading through the tissue, so I dont think, if we follow him, we are doing any violence by acknowledging that living organisms may have a distinct effect on the body.
I do not think that the removal of focal infection is a panacea, but I do believe that the removal of definite diseased end products, which is what they mean, is a necessary part of the cure of disease.
I cannot see that it does any good to prescribe against a continuing cause and if you will again think of your Organon, Hahnemann puts the thing in this order: First, remove the cause, if it is removable; second, regulate your persons life, his habits and his diet; and, third, then prescribe a Homoeopathic medicine if he isnt well.
We do the other thing too often. We give the homoeopathic medicine and expect it to remove the cause, to adjust the wrong things in that patients life and to cure the case. That is something that it was never intended to do. It was intended to remove those remaining things after the body was put in a proper condition to get well.
Taking it from that standpoint, I believe that it is very important, where there is a definite focal infection, to remove it. I will acknowledge that if people lived 100 per cent properly, if they ate 100 per cent properly, if they had 100 per cent efficient medical care, the chances are there never would be such a thing as focal infection, but, unfortunately, we havent arrived at that millennium.
I dont believe that people get focal infections except from the presence of actual dead things, such as teeth, unless they have some constitutional disarrangement, but I believe that having gotten the infection and its result, its focus, which is, after all, an end product, it is our duty to remove that before we expect to cure our patient.
CHAIRMAN HAYES: This is a very instructive talk and we should have some discussion concerning it.
DR. CHARLES A. DIXON: I think Dr. Custis should have added “100 per cent born”.
DR. CUSTIS: I will agree to that.
DR. H.A. ROBERTS: I am particularly impressed with Dr. Custis remark that focal infection is psora. Psora, as I understand it, is functional and never becomes pathological by itself.
DR. CUSTIS: I didnt say that. I said “what the old school called focal infection was often psora”.
DR. H.A. ROBERTS: I stand corrected. It struck me as entirely wrong because focal infection is a combination of the miasms of infection together with psora. In other words, psora is always infection and when it is combined with sycosis or with syphilis, it becomes localized in pathological formations.
CHAIRMAN HAYES: If there is no further discussion, Dr. Custis will you close, please?.
DR. CUSTIS: Nobody has disagreed with me so it is hard for me to close the discussion. I hoped I would find some disagreement.
My point about the psora business was that the old school, in hunting for a cause, had called many things focal infection, where they could never find a focus, where no focus was ever demonstrable, and those cases with manifestations psora proper. That was my point there. I didnt make it clear, probably. This I separated very distinctly from a real focal infection. I separate it from these things which the old school call an infection, and having all these teeth pulled and tonsils out and gall-bladders, and having the prostate massaged and out, sometimes, and still the patient is just the same. That isnt focal infection, but for a moment we had better turn to it and say it must be due to focal infection.
I made that very distinct difference because I think that the popular medical thing today is to call everything which is unexplained the result of some occult focal infection, whether you can find it or not. I believe those things are absolutely manifestations of the chronic diseases as we know them. They may be syphilitic and they may be sycotic or psoric. This was what I meant by the remark.