Rheumatic fever has been a major concern of the medical profession these last years and considerable literature has been published on the subject. As it affects primarily children, I thought I would take this opportunity to ask on this Bureau what results our best homoeopathic prescribers do obtain in this disease as compared with the claims of the partisans of sulfa drugs and antibiotics.
The acceptable biostatistical data assembled from many thousands of cases show that rheumatic fever usually develops from age four to puberty with the average age of onset being about six years. The genetic background plays an important role. Epidemiological factors defer sharply from the usual characteristics of other communicable diseases. The risk of recurring attacks diminishes gradually with age, with the maximum risk during the year immediately following one year of freedom from symptoms. It has also been established that the most important factor in the pathogenesis of rheumatic fever is the susceptibility of the host-this assertion is significant.
Here is a case which follows the typical pattern: E.M., a 10-year-old, plump, rosy-cheeked, Jewish girl, was born by Caesarian section. A bottle baby, she has had up to recently a stormy history. She walked at 9 months and had her first tooth at 5 months-a rather precocious child. She was affected very early by a skin disturbance labeled neuro-dermatitis by the specialist, and manifested allergic tendencies from the start. When 6 years old, she had a severe throat infection complicated with otitis and treated with sulfa drugs. In four weeks she lost 9 pounds and since that time her disposition changed completely from that of a sweet and lovable to a cantankerous and rebellious child.
A few weeks after these acute manifestations, she started a low-grade fever that required the attendance of four successive physicians. She was put to bed for eight solid months, and fed with salicylates from that time on. She has been a crippled child ever since, with one cold after another. Early in 1948 she had a severe bilateral parotiditis superimposed on her now chronic rheumatic condition. A year later, an infectious mononucleosis, complicated with nephritis, took four months gradually to subside after a high barrage of chloromycetin and penicillin. The last few months she got out of bed to be transported to and from school and was not permitted to walk or play outside.
This was the situation when I first saw her March 2. 1950. Physical examination revealed an 83 pounded brunette. 4 6 1/2″ tall, rather overnourished, with red cheeks and lips. The irises were typically tuberculinic with evidence of devitalization. She had been too sick to have her tonsils removed; they showed a mark degree of hypertrophy. Slight cervical adenopathy; chest negative; heart gave no evidence of valvular involvement at this time; pulse hyperkinetic; abdomen somewhat prominent and fat with no apparent abnormalities; extremities revealed no articular changes at this time the skin of the posterior part of the arm, legs and thighs presented the sandpaper aspect of A avitaminosis (hyperkeratosis); blood count demonstrated a mild secondary anemia and chronic leukocytosis (14.950); urine analysis was within normal limits.
The main recurrent complaints included frequent headaches (worse by mental effort), epistaxis almost weekly, ravenous appetite with a craving for sweets and meats and allergy to starches. Bowels regular. Sleeps well but snores. Sweats easily.
On March 9, 1950, Natrum sulph. 200. brought, a week later, a severe reaction: fever, sneezing, cough, nocturnal pains in the knees going down to the toes, a ringworm started spreading on the left arm; nasal symptoms unchanged.
March 28th she feels better; continuation of the remedy.
April 21th feels very much better-goes to school by herself, plays outside. Her mother thinks it is a miracle.
On May 12th, there is diarrhea for the last three days. Otherwise, she felt fine. Natrum sulph. 200, was again administered.
May 31st. For the last few days the girl “talks funny,” with a swollen throat, tonsils are enlarged with no coating, constantly hawking: Baryta carb. 6 b.i.d.
June 23d there is a craving for sweets which beings hives, puffy eyelids, pollakiuria even at night, again marked irritability. Lycopodium 200, brought prompt relief.
During the winter of 1950 she had a batch of colds which cleared up promptly with Sulph. 30., 200., 1M. She has been a healthy, normal child ever since.
It seems, in this case, that homoeopathy has cut short the chronic process of the classic rheumatic fever and accompanying invalidism and prevented, so far, any recurrence. Natrum sulph. proved to be the curative remedy as the reaction to its administration was followed by the classic pattern of the Law of Direction of Cure: from the above down, from the inside out and in the reverse order of the coming of the symptoms. The future will show if the cure is permanent.
DR. ALLEN D. SUTHERLAND [Brattleboro, Vt.]: Mr. Chairman, I havent had too much experience with rheumatic fever, I am happy to say, but I did have four cases which I felt were rather interesting. One case was in a ten-year-old girl; another case was in a thirty-odd-year-old woman; another case in a fourteen- year-old boy, and the fourth case in a girl who was twelve years old.
The first case was in the ten-year-old girl. When I saw her for the first time she had already developed a cardiac complication, having a loud blowing systolic mitral murmur, but this case was very adequately handled by Bryonia which happened to be the indicated remedy. She made a rather rapid recovery from the acute symptoms. I am not able to say what the ultimate outcome was because she left town with her family and didnt continue under my care. So, that is not really a good case but at least the acute symptoms were over in about two weeks. She was able to get up and go to school and able to handle herself, still having her mitral valve lesion.
The second case was in a thirty-two-year-old woman who developed no cardiac complication at all, had an illness of approximately three weeks, and was cured completely by Colchicum and, later, Rhus tox. She has never shown any evidence of cardiac difficulty as a result of this illness.
The third case was in a fourteen-year-old boy who developed no cardiac complications at all and recovered completely under Ledum and whom I see from time to time and who shows no evidence of any cardiac difficulty.
The fourth case was in a girl who was approximately eleven years old at the time I first saw her. This is one I missed. She made one visit, complaining of pain in one hip; had a temperature of 99. Bryonia, I think was the remedy indicated at that time and was prescribed in the 200th. The family were asked to see me again in a weeks time if the temperature still continued or if there were any complaints of joint pains.
Three years later I saw the girl and she had a very definite mitral lesion; had no joint complaints but was obviously not well. She had an elevated blood pressure and was rather short of breath on exertion; had some swelling of the ankles, the usual thing we associate with a mild decompensation. The remedy for this girl was Calcarea carb., under which she made a complete recovery.
She was followed during the process of recovery at the Mary Hitchcock Clinic in Hanover, New Hampshire, which has some very competent old school men associated with it, and a clean bill of health was given by the man at the clinic who had followed her during the course of this illness. They prescribed no remedies. I did the prescribing, although they had recommended that sulfathiazole be given as a prophylactic. Of course, I repudiated this suggestion with scorn, and the proof that I was correct is shown in the fact that the child made a complete recovery under Calcarea carb.
I saw her in June, about a week before I came down to the convention, and she is perfectly all right. [Applause].
DR. CARL H. ENSTAM [Los Angeles, Calif.]: I think this paper is quite typical of its author; he is nothing if not meticulous. He knows the subject and you can be absolutely certain the cases he presents are just the way he described them. They are clinically perfect. I dont see those too often. We get the chronic ones that seem to gravitate down to Southern California. They come for the dry air and sunshine and then oranges we have down there. Our cases are a little tougher. They are far more chronic than some of those you people see, on which you gave reports.
It seems to me that too many of them have been allowed the privilege of self-medication, although I think the most difficult of all the cases are those that have a little bit of inefficient homoeopathic prescribing. They come with a handbook on Materia Medica, and somebody has given them six remedies, and we have a heck of a time with them to try to wean them from those, sometimes.
I had a man who came out from the Middle West, a business man. He was crippled to the extent that he couldnt work. His business was closed up. We checked him over and thought we would start out with Nux vomica, I didnt think it would continue being his remedy but it proved to be during a year and one-half, and there was no reason no prescribe otherwise for him.
He went back to his home town, and I suppose he still remains well. Homoeopathy in the treatment of rheumatic conditions, rheumatic fever, beyond any doubt is the only method of curing them, but I think we have to be positive and not permit them the luxury of any other medication.
DR. WILBUR K. BOND [Greensfork, Ind.]: In those old, chronic, scarred valves, Calc. fluor. 6x gives almost as good results.
DR. A.W. HOLCOMBE [Kokomo, Ind.]: Again I want to impose a little bit on you. Up in Hoosierland, where the poison ivy and Rhus tox. grow around every fence corner, we have an abundance of poison ivy cases, also rheumatism.
It has been my observation in the last sixty years up there, that nine out of ten of those cases of rheumatism will start about two years after they have been cured, by suppressive measures, of the poison ivy.
I can tell, when a man comes in, if he is not too old a man, whether he has been poisoned with poison ivy or not. He might have had gonorrhoea some time in his younger days, and many of them do, even with us! But nobody can prognosticate the ultimate effects of Rhus tax. poisoning.
The skin symptoms can easily be gotten rid of, but it goes deeper and far their and longer, and the longer, the “worser,” as the old man says. They always can prognosticate just about what time it is going to rain.
Two-thirds of the cases of rheumatism I have in Indiana are fine weather prophets, and I trace that back where they had Rhus tox. poisoning, some of them all over their faces, hands and bodies, which has been suppressed first with one thing and then another.
Some of the most intractable cases I have had are those that have had these shots. What do they call it?.
DR. SUTHERLAND: Ivyol.
DR. HOLCOMBE: Ivy-something. Those are some of the most intractable cases to cure that I have found.
DR. SCHMIDT [closing]: Thank you, Doctor, for giving me the opportunity to close.
I would like to thank all the commentators for their comments. The reference by Dr. Holcombe to Rhus tax., ivy poisoning and rheumatic fever, is the first time I have heard of it,. and I think it is something very interesting to consider.
In California we have a great many of those cases because poison oak is very extensively spread all over the state.
An interesting feature is that the consensus of opinion of the allopathic school is that most of those extracts, whether by injection or otherwise, mostly by injection, are no good.
We had a staff meeting at the University of California Medical School attended by about 200 doctors, and there was a symposium on this subject. They all concurred in the idea that it was better to abstain than to use them. It was rather interesting.
Of course, acute rheumatic fever is a specific entity as compared to the multiple manifestation of chronic rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis and those allied diseases, and there is a little difficulty.
I was very much interested in your cases, Dr. Sutherland. I myself had been affected they by that disease when I was about twenty-five years old treated by my brother, who cured me with Lycopodium, I never had a relapse and never had any heart disease as a consequence.
I was looking to an extent, to learn from the experience of other prescribers whether they saw many heart complications in those who never received salicylates, because I remember in my days, back in the 20s, it was almost the rule for those who got heavy doses of salicylates, to get cardiac complications.