Taken from the National Eclectic Medical Association Quarterly, June 1931, page 151, and submitted by Wilbur K Bond., M.D., as worthy of homoeopathic consideration.
It is not my province to dwell upon the pathology of pneumonia, as you are so familiar with that as myself.
Fifty years ago the word pneumonia was seldom used in this connection. It was usually referred to as lung fever. The treatment at that time seemed to be to sustain the vitality of the patient while the fever ran its course, as it could not be aborted. And he thinks that the treatment of those days was fully as effective as the modern treatment of the present day. But I desire to impress upon your minds that in these disease primarily, paramount and always present is congestion.
A half- century ago I made this a special study from all its angles. I came to the conclusion that if the congestion could be overcome the disease could be aborted, or at least modified and its course shortened. How to accomplish this required much study. The only way I could conceive was to relax the congested tissues and allow the air to circulate freely through the diseased area, and this must be done by bringing the relaxant into direct contact with the congested tissues, and this could only be accomplished by inhalation.
Now what was the remedy? The only remedy coming to my mind was ether. But that was a dangerous proposition. Too much ether would increase the congestion and kill the patient; hence it must be used cautiously and in homoeopathic doses. And according to the provings of homoeopathy, of which I had some knowledge, it would do it.
I decided I would try it out on the first case of the disease that came under my care. I carefully mapped out my mode of procedure. I had no long to wait. I was then located in the wild lumbar region of central Wisconsin. Early one morning I received a hurry call from the lumbar king of that section to go to his home, in a small hamlet twenty-five miles away. I arrived there at 10 a.m. The patient was the lumbermans wife, a very intelligent and educated lady about thirty years of age.
The case was a well developed double pneumonia–I at once proceeded –I must admit with some trepidation–to try out my theory. I placed the patient in a sitting posture in her bed, instructed her to close her mouth tightly and with one finger close one nostril, then with one finger on her pulse I placed my open vial of Squibs ether an inch below the open nostril and instructed her to inhale. The vial was too far from the nostril, the vapor mixed with so much air that the result was negligible.
After five minutes I moved the vial to within a half-inch of the nostril and instructed the patient to take a long breath, retain it as long as possible, expel and repeat. Soon I noticed the pulse became stronger, the breathing longer, and at the end of twenty minutes from the time of beginning she drew a long full breath, lay back on her pillow free of pain and breathing normally. I used the ether five times at four hour intervals, after which no further symptoms of the disease developed. I remained with the patient until after lunch (twenty-seven hours), then I gave her a thorough examination and finding no indications of pneumonia, I discharged my patient and returned to my home.
I had scored a victory, the patient was cured, the treatment was a success. For the nearly fifty years since then Squibs ether has been my sheet anchor, and it has never failed me.
Three strenuous years in that new country, with its long drives over rough roads and its long and severe winters began sapping my vitality. I received a call to “come back to Gods country.” I returned to Illinois some forty years ago. When the epidemic of la grippe swept this country it found me located at Dixon, Ill., a city of some 12,000 inhabitants. You older gentlemen will remember what havoc it wrought. At least fifty per cent of our people “had the grippe.” A large number of these developed into pneumonia, and there were many deaths. I treated a goodly number of cases, using the ether method. I had no fatalities.
Twenty years ago, owing to a retinitis, the result of a gunshot wound in the face, received on the firing line, and other bodily infirmities, the result of my four years of service in the Civil War, I was compelled to retire from practice. To place myself beyond the pale of temptation, I removed to Crawfordsville, Ind. But my Nemesis followed me.
I was soon called upon to advise or prescribe for those in need of medical services. Ten years ago I suffered a complete break down, my old troubles flaming anew and accompanied with hemiplegia, from which I have never fully recovered.
Some years ago, when the epidemic of influenza, which was identical with the grippe, swept over the country, I arranged with my druggist to supply any person whom I should send to him with Squibs ether, but for ethical and prudential reasons to with hold its name from all except physicians. Scores of people called upon me for advice. I sent them to my druggist. Many people went to the druggist and procured the remedy without calling upon me; this was a relief to me, as I expected no fee.
I have indisputable proof that hundreds of people were treated by this remedy and no failure or unpleasant results followed its use. The ether is a true diagnostic and never makes a mistake; if it relieves the case it is pneumonia; if it fails, or irritates the patient, the disease is not pneumonia. Most of the physicians of the city criticized or condemned the treatment as unsafe and dangerous.
One notable exception stood out in bold relief. A prominent homoeopathic physician, well known to the physicians of this state, owing to the fact that he has for many years held an important position on one of our state boards, called upon me, requesting the name of my remedy, it s mode of administrations and my theory. I explained fully. He said, “That is in accordance with the provings of homoeopathy–Similia similibus curentur. I believe it will do it. I will give it a trial.” He lost no more pneumonia patients.
I am not so presumptuous as for a moment to believe that this assembly of intelligent, progressive physicians will, as a whole, accept my theory or approve my treatment. Many will criticize, even condemn, it as illogical, unsafe and even dangerous. But I do believe that amongst your number are many earnest, progressive investigators, true to their convictions, who will at least give it a fair trial. To those gentlemen I say, God speed you; you will win.
My answer to my critics can best be illustrated by a little episode of more than forty years ago on this subject. At that time there was a Dr. S. holding a lucrative position as professor in a large normal school some miles distant from my home town, but whom I had not previously met.
His wife, with her six-year old daughter, was visiting her parents in our city. One Tuesday morning I was called to their home. In found the young daughter suffering from double pneumonia. That day and evening I gave her four treatments with ether. The following morning I discharged the patient, cured. Ms. S. said the professor was coming down the following Saturday morning to spend the week end, and he would call and see me. I expressed my delight for the pleasure of making the professors acquaintance and departed. Saturday morning came and went, but no professor called.
Glancing out of my office window I noticed a carriage drive up and stop before a nearby store. In the carriage was my late patient; by her side was a large, pompous and dignified gentleman whom I presumed to be Professor S. He alighted and entered the store. I sauntered down to the street. As he emerged I accosted him with: “This is Professor S., I believe.” He replied: “I am Professor S.” I said, “I am Dr. Edson. How is the little girl getting along?” He replied, “She is alright; nothing the matter with her now.” Then in a patronizing, quizzical tone he said, “Doctor, what do you think was the matter with my daughter?” I replied that she had double pneumonia, He said, “Nothing of the sort. There is not the least sign of pneumonia about her.
You were mistaken.” I replied that I had aborted it. He declared that it was impossible; that it couldnt be done. I then explained to him my mode of treatment and suggested that he give it a trial. He thundered out, “No! Time is too short and life too precious to trifle with any such nonsense.” My reply to this was: “Doctor, if you ever have a well developed case of pneumonia, with no pay in prospect and you dont care a whoop whether he lives or dies, try it.” and that, gentlemen, is the answer to my critics–try it and see if for yourselves.
Objections to this treatment have been made by some, that it cures the case so promptly that there is nothing in it for the doctor. This may be overcome in part by giving the treatments yourself, allowing no other reason to do this. You will very soon relieve your worry over a treacherous disease, many days of pain and anxiety to your patient, and possibly save a valuable life, as well as give you greater popularity.