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On Tuesday the 22d day of June, 1858, at nine, p.m., in Auburn, Cayuga Co., N. Y., Hugh Wilson, 50 years of age, and in full health, took a teaspoonful of Arsenic. Mr. Wilson had been habitually intemperate and was undoubtedly under the influence of alcoholic stimulus at the time of taking the poison. He was with his family, but having often threatened to kill himself, pretending to take poison, they paid little attention to what he had done. They were, however, watchful, fearing that he might harm them and did not go to bed. Mr. Wilson retired as usual and strange to say went to sleep. The first intimation that anything was wrong with him was at two, p.m., the 23d (Wednesday), five hours after the poison was taken, when his son, a bright lad of 15 years, went to his father's room and found him in spasms. The muscular system generally was convulsed, but the limbs suffered principally. This young man was with his father from that time until his death, about twenty-four hours later.

The writer was with Mr. Wilson a part of Wednesday. The spasmodic condition lasted without complication until about six, a.m., or nine hours after the poison was taken, when there came on five or six vomitings of ingesta and fluid very offensive; closely following these were as many passages from the bowels of stinking watery fluid. This brings the case to eight, a.m., when there commenced to pass from the bowels, almost constantly, slime and thick green mucus, mixed with what looked like scrapings from the mucous membrane, with more Or less blood.

These passages continued until he died some eighteen hours later. Cramps continued until the end, but in diminished degree. There was no smell to these green passages, except the fresh smell of mucus. There was great pain in the bowels and pain in the limbs when cramping. Mr. Wilson was almost constantly at stool, yet was so exhausted that he could not sit alone, needing the assistance of two persons to keep him in a sitting posture. When he left the stool he seemed in a fainting condition, and did at times faint. There was moderate thirst, and at the last extreme restlessness His mind was perfectly clear, and he talked about what he he had done and why he did it There was no fear nor desire to avert what he know to be the inevitable result He died gently and without a struggle. Here was an undoubted case of Arsenicum dysentery. From these indications, the cases of dysentery calling for Arsenicum would seem to be clear. All writers on dysentery, who treat the disease homoeopathically, give the same indication for Arsenicum, and that is the offensive evacuations. This is a true one; but when are they so offensive? Only the first or watery ones are necessarily so. The dysenteric passages proper in the above case were without the bad smell, and in the majority of cases will they be found in actual dysentery unless they are mixed with watery fluid or ingesta. Exhaustion is perhaps the most constant symptom found when Arsenicum is the remedy. Thirst and restlessness may or may not be found. There is almost constant desire to be at stool, yet the exhaustion is so great as to mask this symptom. The two cases given below are in illustration.

Two children, twins of 18 months, were attacked with dysentery. The first was taken on Tuesday, September 22d, 1863, with vomiting of ingesta followed by very offensive watery stools, described by the nurse as smelling like rotten eggs. On Wednesday morning commenced to pass the peculiar stools of dysentery, and from that time until the next Wednesday, when the child died, there was no cessation of the green mucous passages. The passages were almost black yet retaining the distinct green color, nor did any treatment, including Chamomilla and several doses of the sixth dilution of Arsenicum, make the least impression on the case.

On Thursday, October 1st, the other child was taken with the same disease. There was high fever; the treatment of this case was commenced with Aconite and cold water compresses applied to the abdomen, repeated quite often through Thursday night and Friday forenoon. Friday, p.m., the fever abated and the stools were arrested. These first stools were of the same offensive smell, and were mixed with blood and mucus. Before daylight on Saturday, commenced those peculiar green mucous stools, which continued every hour and hour-and-a-half until Monday morning. There was continued fever, with little thirst; there was extreme exhaustion, the child lying without motion between stools. There was entire aversion to food of all kinds.

Nothing so far had arrested the onward course of the disease, and it must have proved fatal had the same treatment been pursued as with the first. The case seemed clear for Arsenicum, but the ill-success with the first did not seem to warrant any hope from that remedy. At four, p.m., of Monday, when reading Teste on Arsenicum, the following sentence attracted attention:

“The symptoms caused by Arsenic seem to assume a nervous form, the higher the attenuations with which the provings were instituted; thence it follows that the lower attenuations of Arsenic are more particularly adapted to organic affections, arid especially the very acute affections of the bowels”

The disease under treatment was very severe and with no nervous manifestations. The above suggestions of Teste led to the administration of Ars. in the third trituration. Two doses of a solution of one grain of Ars2, in one-third of a glass of water, was given a teaspoonful each time. The effect was prompt and decided. There was less prostration almost at once, and the evacuations were less often. The change was so great that at two, p.m., when a consultation was held, there seemed to be metastasis to the brain. Bell.20 was given for thirty-six hours and Arsenicum omitted. On Wednesday, at four, a.m., the disease was as acute and dangerous as on Monday. The evacuations were as often and the prostration as great. Arsenicum in the same preparation as before was again given. Two doses at four hours intervals arrested the disease as promptly as before; this time the effect was not interrupted. On Thursday there was much less prostration and the stools were at intervals of three hours, but there was more tenesmus. On Friday the condition was so changed that Merc. dulc. seemed called for; two doses were given at four hours interval. Under its action the stools gradually changed from green to yellow. As the stools became yellow they smelled more natural and began to assume the nature of feces. The case was evidently improving and no more medicine was given for the dysenteric condition.

Perhaps this paper ought to end here as the condition calling for Arsenicum was cured, yet as the child was still very sick and remained so several days, it may not be uninteresting to follow the case further.

Sunday, October 11th. On a careful review the case disclosed the following symptoms: no disposition to move except to stool, which must be attended to at once; the stool is followed by worrying and moaning. Fine red rash on the head, neck and face, with great itching. Uneasiness during sleep, which was short and light. Excessive irritability when awake. Continued fever, with hot hands and body, and cool arms. Pulse 150 through the twenty-fours hours. The lips are deep red, cracked and ulcerated. The tongue is red, dry and ulcerated with inability to protrude it. The throat is sore and dry. When commencing to swallow, there is crying and unwillingness to renew the effort, yet afterwards this ceases. Discharge of clear ropy saliva. Every motion of the body causes the child to cry out. Urine natural. Coughs occasionally, which is always attended with crying. There is coryza and rattling respiration, — Lachesis12 was given.

Monday, no change. Lachesis200 one dose was given. Tuesday, pulse 140, otherwise same condition. From this time the child took no medicine, as it grew gradually better from day to day and no new remedy was called for.


Source: The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 04 No. 05, 1863, page 223-226
Description: Arsenicum and Dysentery.
Remedies: Arsenicum album
Author: Boyce, C.W.
Year: 1863
Editing: errors only; interlinks; formatting
Attribution: Legatum Homeopathicum
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