IN his Dictionary of Materia Medica, Clarke notes under DIGITALINUM the symptom “sensation as if the heart stood still,” also “slow pulse,” “irregular,” also “hurried pulse” are mentioned as symptoms. Several months ago, while still in the United States, I had occasion to treat a patient who was extremely ill with a recurrent attack of pulmonary abscess; he had at times been under the care of careful Hahnemannian prescribers and had likewise been treated by orthodox methods; during my attendance upon him, he had been doing very well under the action of Pix liquida 30th, given three times a day for a number of days; Arsenicum album was one of his basic remedies and had helped him considerably at various times, when clearly indicated.
On one occasion, I was called by the nurse rather hurriedly, to find the patient in a cool perspiration, with an extremely rapid and feeble pulse, which I had difficulty in counting; he lay upon his back, was quiet, though evidently fully cognisant of his serious condition; in answer to my question as to how he felt, he said: “It feels as though my heart hat to get over an obstacle and that for a moment it had stopped, but finally got over the obstacle and then went on.”
He had previously had a severe spell of coughing, which had no doubt induced the cardiac attack. Digitalinum 30 was given in water, in frequent doses and soon brought a beneficial response; the remedy was discontinued at the end of twenty-four hours, as the symptoms had altogether disappeared and the pulse had come down considerably.
Of interest is the fact that a remedy such as the alkaloid Digitalinum, given in infinitesimal dosage such as the thirtieth, is capable of producing effective results, results incidentally, which are commonly expected of physiological doses of this and other stimulant drugs. It is my belief, founded upon long observation and experience, that only a very small percentage of homoeopathic physicians permit themselves to rely upon our potentised remedies in emergency conditions; hence this field of homoeopathic endeavour, sadly needs working, remedies such as Carbo veg., Digitalinum, Camphor, Veratrum alb., etc., are passed by in emergencies, when their use would give results, at least as good, if not better than those obtained by so-called physiological medication.
Probably a strong reason why they have not been employed, lies in the fact that a patient who dies lege artis leaves behind him a grieving family, satisfied that all was done which could have been done, by the spectacular and theatrical methods of orthodox medicine which the majority of homoeopaths delight in emulating. If homoeopathy is to survive, homoeopaths themselves must be more courageous in carrying out practically, the principles which they profess in theory and which too often are proclaimed with a blare of trumpets at annual banquets and other emotional festivities, particularly in the United States.
June 15th, 1931.