I wish to report an unusual case of celiac disease with a high grade of malnutrition which has been of unusual interest to me, because of the most thorough scientific examination this child received before I saw it and which demonstrated that careful scientific feeding and hygiene can go just so far but cannot remove or change the character of the soil upon which the child has been made.
The patient, a male and only child, three and a half years old, who came from very intellectual parents about forty years of age when the child was born. They are both living but physically frail. The birth was normal. The child has been artificially fed since birth. Dentition began at the eighth month and was particularly difficult; during the eruption of the canine teeth he developed what was diagnosed as a very severe case of gastroenteritis from which has never fully recovered. Although always below weight, he has never seemed to gain or if he did he would lose it with every acute upset. There is not history of any of the other acute illnesses of early childhood.
Physical examination May 1, 1936: John S. age 3 years, 7 months. Weight 27 lbs. 2 oz. Sallow complexion. A very thin anaemic child; somewhat flabby tissue with loss of turgor and tonus of tissue and poor musculature. Skin wrinkled and dehydrated. Head well developed, good shape. Mentally quite bright. Abdomen distended. Tongue coated; breath offensive; the hands and feet were cold. Head was sweating. No evidence of rickets in osseous system. Temperature subnormal.
The stool examined was a soft fecal mass, offensive; consistency of soft salve with little mucus, acid reaction, with fat curds and calcium soaps. For the past month have been only three times daily, sometimes one when the child seemed to be improved but constantly relapses. Mother says child is restless at night. The mother had several laboratory reports of blood and urine. The blood picture showed a mild secondary anaemia and the blood calcium was reduced.
Blood Wassermann and Kahn were negative.
Mantoux tuberculin test was negative.
This case, as you can see by the history, was nearly two years old and had been correctly diagnosed by one of our ablest pediatricians as celiac disease or chronic intestinal indigestion. As this was the first time the mother consulted a physician for homoeopathic treatment, I asked her to go home and carefully recall what genuine symptoms the child complained of and what she had observed for several months back, if possible.
On the general symptoms given, namely, an emaciated child with an unhealthy skin, redness of the mucocutaneous borders, the catnap sleep, sudden spells of hot skin, the changeable stools with the characteristic offensive odor which clung to the child, and also to bring out suppressed or new symptoms, I prescribed Sulphur 500 four doses and continued the same diet and general regime but no other medication of any kind.
May 14, 1936. Mother reports child has slept better; no other changes.
May 28. About the same; no worse. Sac. lac.
June 10. Child no better and stools much more frequent. Diet adjusted. Sulphur 10M.
June 20. Reports stool better, less offensive. Sleep is better. No loss of weight. Sac. lac.
July 2. Stools have lost their bad odor; the best in a year. Child had gained seventeen ounces. Enjoys playing outside. Sac. lac.
September 1. Mother has reported several times. Stools are better. Child has made a progressive gain in weight; has gained one and one-half pounds, which is most significant.
September 15. Mother reports babys condition changed. No gain in weight for the past two weeks. Profuse sweating on the head. Sour odor. Feet cold and damp. Bowels frequent. Chemical examination of stool shows calcium soap and fatty acids. Abdomen quite distended. Calcarea carb. 200.
October 15. Began to gain weight. Stools normal, two daily. Sleeps well. Sweat less, feet warm and dry. Sac. lac.
December 1. Again another slump. No gain in weight for the last ten days; lost three ounces. Increase in sweating of the head. Stool more frequent with increase of flatulence. Calcarea carb. 10M.
January 2, 1937. Mother reports this month the baby gained two pounds. No sweating for the past two weeks. Sour odor has left stools and also child. Stools are soft, smooth and well digested. Now for the first time she believes the child is on the straight road to recovery. Sac. lac.
March 16. Mother reported to the office with child; they live about 150 miles away from Philadelphia. The report is that the child went bad about four days ago; began to get restless; refused diet, or seemed filled up and pushed it away after taking a few mouthfuls. Has lost two pounds in last four days. Seems to show most loss of weight, if not all, in the face, neck and shoulders.
The face is a pale yellow, sallow or gray color. Abdomen is distended with noisy gas and the bowels have become loose — five to six stools per day. Most of the stools occur in the early evening from about 5 to 8 p. m. His nights are restless. Awakens irritable and frightened and is quite angry. After a careful study I prescribed Lycopodium 500, six doses. There was no response for two days. Then he began to sleep quite soundly and the flatulence decreased and in the course of seven days bowels were reduced to two stools daily, and were quite normal. The weight was stationary for the last four days. His mother took him back home, of course with plenty of Sac. lac.
March 26. Five days after leaving me she reported child was holding his own; no more digestive upsets; sleeps well, stools normal; but no gain in weight.
April 2. Mother reports child has been quite well until last night, when he awoke cross and crying. Stools normal. Sac. lac.
April 9. Mother reports child has been losing some ground for the last three days; his nights are restless. Flatulence worse, much rolling of gas in intestines. Stools very loose. Lycopodium 10M., one dose.
April 16. Mother reports slow improvement; nights quiet, flatulence gone; stools better, only three daily.
April 23. Report indicates patient is generally improving; looks better, sleeping well; bowels practically normal. Made the first gain in weight since March 16. Sac. lac.
April 30. Mother writes: “I feel relieved, for I believe the child is improving in every way.” Sac. lac.
May 7. Mother writes the child is doing well in every way; gained twenty ounces in the last two weeks; keeping strict diet regulations. Sac. lac.
May 12. Received an urgent message to come to a local hotel to see the patient. When I came, the mother scolded me and accused me of sending a medicine four days ago which almost killed her child. That prescription which I sent was Sac. lac. Furthermore she told me she would not leave the city until I had made some definite improvement in her child. The patient had relapsed with a complicated mess of symptoms. A profuse painless diarrhoea with much exhaustion, etc., for which I prescribed China off. 30.
I could see no reason why the apparently well selected remedies did not help or cure. The mother had thought on several occasions that the child was cured. I recalled the advice of the late Dr. H. C. Allen, who told me nearly forty years ago at one of our meetings, “When the well selected remedy does not improve or cure, dont forget to consult your nosode;” and having had an almost marvelous result in my new field of research, namely, the non-lactose intestinal bacillus nosode (for which I must thank Dr. John Paterson of Glasgow, Scotland, whose yeoman work in this field, along with his valuable letters, has helped me so much) I began to study the four prominent nosodes which I have used, and decided on Gaertner Co.
It was prescribed because of the poorly developed musculature of the body and limbs; his hyperesthesia to all impressions, both psychical and physical; the attacks occurring at various points of time; his inability to absorb fats and his pathological diagnosis, celiac disease or intestinal infantilism.
I prescribed Gaertner Co. with hopes, and watched this patient daily as his condition was almost as bad as when I took the case. His whole reaction was different to this nosode — somewhat slow but it held, and after two weeks on Gaertner Co. he was taken home May 25, 1937. On this date he was hungry and eating well his prescribed diet. The bowels were returning to normal.
In regular cycles of a month or two there were some minor upsets. Then the remedy was repeated either in the same or higher potency. He was brought to see me on New Years Day, 1938, and has gained nineteen pounds. He looked the picture of health, and was eating practically everything. On this visit he received his last dose of medicine, and he is now in wonderful physical condition and is active and apparently healthy as any child can be or need be. The parents say he has been made over — thanks to Gaertner Co. 30,200 and 1000.