A patient of 59 was taken sick while at his summer country home, some thirty odd miles from Madison. A chill, followed by a rise in temperature, caused his immediate removal to a modern, well- equipped hospital, several miles from home. A local physician was called, not a homoeopath, as there are none in this part unable to make a diagnosis and therefore called in for consultation an older man of reputation and on the hospital staff. He, too, could not establish diagnosis. The pulse was rapid and the temperature had risen to 104.2. The patient complained of shooting pains in the forehead and above the eyes; he was sluggish, apprehensive, fearful. There was no thirst.
These few facts I learned later from the patients wife and at her request was asked to speak to the attending physician, to whom the patient had previously state that “he did not want to take any damned, allopathic dope,” a statement not calculated to raise him in the estimation of his attendant physician. The latter telephoned me and most courteously asked me to call upon the sick man, if I could; he likewise asked for my own opinion of the sick mans condition. On the following day I motored to the hospital and, at the previous instruction of the physician, was granted the privilege of inspecting the chart and hospital record of the case. An examination of the blood had been made and the urine had also been examined.
Both reports were essentially negative; an X-ray examination of the chest had been de, but the report had not as yet been received from the laboratory. My reading of the chart and record showed that the patient was receiving interval doses of codein and of aspirin, together with mouth washes of lemon juice and glycerin. The codein had caused great dryness of the mouth and had produced the usual mental confusion and dullness. The abdomen was distended with flatus and the temperature was 103 F.
My own examination of the patient, for which permission had been given me, revealed nothing more than had been found by the physician and his consultant. In obedience to medical ethics I refrained from offering or even suggesting the administration of a homoeopathic remedy, although the symptom picture was clearly that of Gelsemium. My opinion was that we were dealing with an influenza of the virus type. The patient was not a strong, robust man and was very decidedly of the psychasthenic type.
The therapy is barbarous and in reality requires no physician at all; any nurse or druggist could do as well. Yet it is the time- honored method, purely palliative and based upon nothing but the crude action of drugs. Furthermore, it is distinctly harmful and will result in a long convalescence. I neglected to state that a “shot” of Penicillin had first of all been given, presumably upon the theory that some type of infection must be present and this might be combated by the popular antibiotic, I have had no experience with any of these remedies except Terramycin which, in an incurable case of post-operative within thirty-six hours. I regarded the presence of the pus as pathological end-product, beyond the reach of any homoeopathic remedy.
The convalescence of this patient was a very long one and had to be followed by a visit of several weeks to the south which did much eventually to restore him to his usual health, never too good. He has been under my treatment since, whenever he had felt the need to visit me.
As a staunch homoeopath he had no thought of continuing with an orthodox physician; however, there are many patients who, for one reason or another, usually that of reference to a homoeopath by a friend who has had long experience with Hahnemannian homoeopathy, come to one of us, though for a brief time only, expressing disappointment with the slowness of progress in the attempted cure. To such individuals the glamour of modern medicine appeals very strongly, more especially the dramatic results of rapid palliation of their symptoms; such patients do not realize that such quick palliation usually means, in the language of homoeopathy, suppression the results of which may be a long time in manifesting themselves and are then looked upon as a new disease.
Orthodox medicine diagnoses and treats diseases, not patients; the latter are forgotten in the physicians efforts to eradicate their diseases and too often they pay the price in an untimely and unnecessary exitus, with family and friends mollified by the thought that all that medical science could do, was done. This is one of the many reasons why the practice of Hahnemannian therapy is dying in the United State. Far too many physicians of our own homoeopathic profession are abandoning its principles, recognizing that it is futile to oppose the demands of a blissfully ignorant public.
As Dr. Roger A. Schmidt of San Francisco indicated in his Presidential address to the International Hahnemannian Association, homoeopathy was born too soon.
MADISON, NEW JERSEY.