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Clinical Reports. Letter from Dr. C. G. McKnight. — Sometime since we published what we considered a very practical article from the pen of one of our correspondents entitled “Value of Clinical Reports,' and on publishing the following communication from Dr. C. G. McKnight, cannot forbear prefacing it with a few remarks, which will serve as reasons why we have not published the reports of many cases sent us by our correspondents.

The majority of cases reported, are interesting only as showing the results of the administration of remedies in accordance with the homoeopathic law.

To make them of any practical value to the physician or student, the reporter should be more explicit. Little or no benefit can be derived from the fact that a certain remedy was successfully exhibited in a certain case, even if we are Informed of the potency used, and we consider this, in this connection, of little importance, or the frequency with which the dose is repeated; for if our practice were based on such knowledge, we should soon become mere routinists. We are too much inclined, even now, to treat diseases in accordance with the prescribed plan of the works on practice, and after trying in succession all the remedies therein specified, are often unsuccessful and “resort to adjuvants,” as we term it. A physician should know why he administers a remedy, and in reporting the case, should state his reasons for selecting that remedy in preference to another, perhaps almost as well indicated; as many are, in the general symptoms detailed. The characteristic symptom or symptoms, if any, which aided in the selection of the drug, should be particularly noted. Having thus found, as near as possible, the similimum, the potency is of bat little consequence, as the physician will use the medicine in such a form as he may, from circumstances or experience, deem proper. Clinical reports might, therefore, be made more interesting and valuable, if, instead of a large number described in general terms, we should have fewer, and have those analyzed.

Mr. Editor: — In looking over the November number of the “Review,” I was struck with the loose way in which statements were made, in regard to the administration of specific remedies; and I regret to say, that the habit is growing worse every day, and if not corrected, these reported cases, will be, practically, of no use to other Homoeopaths. It may be all-sufficient for our allopathic brethren, to be told that Calomel or Colchicum cured this or that case, but unless we know exactly what Dilution or Trituration was used, we are not, benefited by the experience of A, B, and C. To illustrate my meaning, I will give you a few specimens of the style used in the Hahnemann Academy; (and here I wish distinctly to be understood, as not wishing to be unkind or censorious, but simply to suggest a reform in reporting cases, so that others may be guided in the selection of specific remedies,) and the first I shall refer to, is malignant Erysipelas. Rhus here seems to have played a very creditable part, and no doubt it was so, but what kind of Rhus? Was it the Radicans, Vernix or Toxicodendron? or, was it the Tine, 1st, 2d, 3d, or 2000th dilution? Now for all practical purposes, outside the writer's own practice, this statement is worth just nothing at all.

Next we come to a perfect specific for all kinds of Croup: and what is it? Why Tartar Emetic — but here again we are left in the dark, and any one attempting to follow this lead, must do it blindly.

Now this is too serious a disease to experiment on with different potencies, and if Tart. Emet. is a specific (which I very much doubt) why not go a little further and say what potency produces with certainty, this most desirable result.

Another gentleman, not to be out-done, suggests “Bromium” in place of Iodine, but forgets to say what attenuation, and goes on still more mysteriously to say that a case of Spasmodic Cough of long standing, which had been unsuccessfully treated by a number of allopathic physicians, had been at once much relieved by what? Why by homoeopathic remedies!!!. Shades of Hahnemann, Jahr and Hempel! help us to find those homoeopathic remedies, for we have a case of spasmodic cough, that has not at ones been much relieved, nor does it seem inclined to be, by our homoeopathic remedies.

Now Mr. Editor I might go on and give you chapter and verse for any number of sins of omission of this character; but I forbear; but I cannot refrain from entering my protest against such a slip-shod style of reporting cases. Either they are worth reporting correctly, or they are not worth reporting at all, and to publish them with a design of communicating any practical benefit in this shops is “Love's labor lost.”

I was very much pleased while reading Dr. Black's article on Diphtheria in the last ”British Journal“ to notice, what struck me as a somewhat peculiar coincidence: — Dr. B., after naming various remedies as suitable in the disease, adds another which he suggests ought, from its pathogenesis to be an excellent remedy “but which had not yet been employed,” viz: Cantharides. Now we are happy to say that it has been employed with the most marked and happy results. Nearly or quite a year since, Dr. A. H. Okie, of this city stated before we had the disease here to any extent, that Cantharides ought to be a good remedy for it since that time Dr. Okie has treated I believe in all, fourteen cases, thirteen of which recovered. He uses Cantharides, 1st dilution, alternated with Acon. 2d, and the results obtained, ought certainly to be very satisfactory, particularly so, when in our monthly statement of deaths for October, we find six deaths from Diphtheria, under allopathic treatment.

And why may we not go still farther, and find in Cantharides as good a prophylactic against this dread disease as Belladonna is in Scarlet Fever? After reading the pathogenesis of Cantharides I am led to believe that such it the fact, and my great object in writing this article will have been attained, if physicians will, when they find this disease epidemic, try it and report the result, in regard to its prophylactic power.

And could we by its use be enabled to prevent as well as cure, a disease so fatal in its tendency, should we not furnish another reason why we should be called the benefactors of our race, and add to the debt the world already owes to our immortal founder Samuel Hahnemann?

Providence, R.I ., Dec. 1859. C. G. McKnight, M.D.

N. B. — The best local application in Diphtheria, according to Dr. Okie's experience is a gargle of Claret Wine.


Letter from Dr. Woodbury. — Diphtheria is prevailing here, and 18 or 20 cases have proved fatal, under allopathic treatment. We have seen about 40 cases to this date, and have pursued the treatment, in the main, as suggested and so successfully adopted by Dr. Henry R. Madden (see British Journal of Homoeopathy), and Dr. Henry D. Paine, Albany, N. Y. (see September number of American Homoeopathic Review) and can, with our limited experience of two months, add our humble testimony of its efficacy. We believe that the superior success of homoeopathic physicians in this grave disease, will give to Homoeopathy an increased impetus. The large percent, of fatal cases under allopathic medication has considerably alarmed the community; and the physicians of that school, in several instances, have acknowledged that their remedial means are everything but satisfactory, that “burning out” throats is disastrous, but as it is the only curative (?) remedy, it must be done.

From some cause, the allopathic physicians in this locality use more sparingly and less frequently the caustic, than at an earlier period of the epidemic. The reason we apprehend is two-fold: first, the result was very unfavorable: second, the discovery by actual experiment, that Diphtheria is not simply a local disease, and the true indications for its cure are something more than a topical treatment.

The charity of some of the old school physicians in this vicinity is not proverbial, and we fear their minds are a little prejudiced, and that they are hardly willing to concede to us integrity of purpose or the most common intelligence, because forsooth we are outside the Chinese wall of regular, but quaking, Allopathy.

They have our warmest sympathy, and we will do them good as we have opportunity. The “mild power,” the “gentle simile,” is more potent in curing disease than the ancient and fabulous club of Hercules. We patiently and hopefully “labor and wait.” Yours, very truly,

Bristol, Pa ., Dec. 1859. W. L. WOODBURY.



During the past year there have been two deaths; from Typhoid Fever, one girl, from Convulsions, in a consumptive boy, one.

The principal diseases have been, of Abscess, 7 cases; Bruises, 8; Carbuncle, 1; Dropsy of the Abdomen, 1; Eruptions, (I should think) 200; Erysipelas of the face, 3; Fracture of Fore-arm, 1; Fever, 7; Fever, Typhoid, 2; Hernia Inguinal, 2; Jaundice, 5; Ophthalmia, 150; Quinsy, 3; Colds, Coughs, Chilblains, unnumbered; Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Dysentery, less than usual.

The Ophthalmia, which was assuming a threatening aspect at the last anniversary, spread in a more intense and malignant form than was ever before witnessed in this Institution.

During the year there have been about 150 cases. A few have been removed while under treatment, and for the first time since the introduction of Homoeopathia, now more than seventeen years, some cases have resulted in Staphyloma and loss of sight; hut fortunately, I believe, in every instance at least one eye was saved, so that there is no case of total blindness.

As is usual when the Ophthalmia prevails, there has also been a great prevalence of inveterate cutaneous eruptions, almost all the children having been more or less affected. These have yielded to treatment, and we are looking forward to a good time coming, when we shall have comparative exemption from the two pests of Asylums for children, Ophthalmia and Eruptions.

We are endeavoring to improve the condition of the children —

1. By careful attention to Ventilation, recommending that they be kept in school never more than an hour at a time, having short intermissions of 10 or 15 minutes, during which the school-rooms are aired by opening the windows.

2. By a liberal and more varied diet, including recently a free use of vine gar, recommended by James J. McCarter, Esq., of Charleston, S. C, from its supposed efficacy in the Asylum there, where, among 320 children, he did not see a single case of Ophthalmia.

3. By a regular course of calisthenic exercises, the importance of which has not been properly appreciated, and which I would most emphatically recommend.

While all these things are attended to, it is still true that where large numbers of children are kept together for any length of time, not only is the air vitiated, but peculiar specific miasma are often generated, which produce the diseases so prevalent in most of the Asylums.

4. We are therefore using “Raymond's Spherical Disinfecting Fluid,” which has proved effectual in expelling all foul and offensive air and vapors, in the hope that it may also expel all the infectious miasms, and promote an unusual degree of purity and health.

B. F. BOWERS, M.D., Physician to Asylum.


Source: The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 02 No. 04, 1860, pages 189-192
Description: Miscellaneous; Correspondence; Medical Report of The Half-orphan Asylum, New York;
Author: Ahomeo02
Year: 1860
Editing: errors only; interlinks; formatting
Attribution: Legatum Homeopathicum
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