Excerpted and annotated by H.A. Roberts from original mass. by Wells.
The prognosis of dysentery, when under intelligent and careful homoeopathic treatment and nursing, is generally favorable. This can hardly be questioned, after a careful experience in this treatment of the disease of more than thirty years without the loss of a single case. In this time the number of cases treated has been great, and there is no reason for regarding them as less severe, on the whole. than the average of cases as they occur in a general practice. There are considerations, however, which are of moment always, in making up our account of prognosis.
Sporadic cases, in good constitutions, are the least likely to be attended with danger, or to give much trouble in their cure. In different epidemics, differences in the character and severity of the disease are met, which may have an important bearing on the question of prognosis…Patients convalescing from attacks of severe acute disease, if attacked by dysentery, are, other things being equal, in more danger than those attacked in health. The degree of added danger is determined by the nature of the previous attacks, and the degree to which it has depressed the vital forces.
The surrounding circumstances of the patient may have an important influence circumstances of the patient may have an important influence in determining the issue of an attack. If the patient be…subjected to the privations of poverty, or to great mental anxiety or is from any cause wanting the comforts of proper diet and nursing, the prognosis will be so much more unfavorable as any of these causes may be operative. The disease is said to be more fatal in childhood and old age than in middle life…Temperate climates are more favorable than the tropical. Extreme heat in either is unfavorable.
A moderate intensity of the pain and tenesmus, and evacuations of moderate frequency and quantity, which are not very offensive and contain but little blood, are favorable, while the reverse of these are unfavorable, and in the ratio of the intensity in which this reverse condition is present.
Other unfavorable elements are: a long continuance of the disease, which is threatening to pass into a chronic form; relapses are more dangerous than – original attacks; symptoms of collapse; great prostration of the vital forces; symptoms of peritonitis, and of perforation of the intestine; chills; a falling in of the abdominal patients, with loss of their natural elasticity; involuntary eructations; erysipelas; pyaemia; violent vomiting; with choreic symptoms, rapid emaciation, dropsical affections, protracted hiccough, delirium, convulsions, and paralysis.
When we pass form the consideration of dysentery as a fact in medical science to treat of it as a fact to be cured, the first question we have to answer is how shall we able to grasp, with certainty, the means best adapted to the accomplishment of this end? And if, just here, the Law of Similars presents itself, and claims our confidence as a sure guide in the selection of the requisite means, we reply with the next question, What does this Law of Similars require? Or, in other words, what is the similimum which it requires us to discover, to be like?
What are the facts which it is to resemble, the likeness to which constitutes it the curative of the case, under the authority of law? To be able to answer this question with clearness and certainty when it arises as it must, at the outset of our practical consideration of our subject, we have already presented a somewhat extended statement if those facts, in two classes, viz., the generic and specific symptoms of the case.
Similarity to these alone answered the demand of the law…Cure…is a positive removal of an evil, by the interposition of an efficient appointed law. Recovery may be possible where no means are employed for the attainment of this end, or even where the means employed have been wholly wrong, and therefore, so far as they have been influential in the case, have been only hurtful. A cure results only from the right use of right means, according to the requirements of law, the whole tendency and influence of which, when so employed, is in the direction of health, and therefore only beneficial.
There is, sometimes, an experience in the treatment of this disease, when it is present as an epidemic, which at first glance would seem to negative the statement that it finds its cure in no one drug. There is such a repetition of the facts of each case in every other, in these circumstances, as to make it quite possible for a cure to be found in a single drug, for the epidemic. The reason for this is in the fact, that all the examples of the disease in the epidemic are the product of a common cause, the action of which on the organism is so little modified by local or individual circumstances, that the result in each case is virtually a representative of that in every other.