The angels in heaven rejoice over the conversion of every sinner, and so should we, wishing and striving to procure happiness to suffering mortal humanity. The first step after an offence, when the desire becomes irrepressible to reconciliation, is confession. Such a confession we find in Nos. 22. 23, Vol. 68, of the Allgemeine Homoeopathische Zeitung, and this confession is made by Dr, Heinrich Gottfried Schneider, Magdeburg. His confession is embodied in an article on diphtheria and consequent paralysis observed on himself.
The article undoubtedly has been written by the learned author with the desire to convince all such of his colleagues as have fallen, or are in danger of falling into the error of believing that we can ever find a specific remedy for a pathological condition or name of disease, that it is an impossibility, and that the practical application of such erroneous doctrines must lead to very disastrous if not fatal results. The learned doctor does not express himself exactly thus; but his deductions from the case as he states them will allow the interpretation that his great modesty prevented him from contending for a much higher principle which should be adopted in the homoeopathic treatment of the sick, viz.: that the pathological condition does not indicate the treatment, and that by following strictly the practical rules laid down by Hahnemann and confirmed by so many experiments, especially the rule that the truly curative remedy, in a given case, must be similar in its characteristics to the characteristic symptoms of the patient, we shall-instead of disappointment and disastrous results following the selection of a remedy according to pathological notions-meet with most astonishing results in the way of cures .
We will now give a concise translation of Dr. Schneider's article and his own “epicrise,” and conclude with the deductions we draw from the facts as related by himself. Dr. Schneider says, “I have enjoyed, generally, very good health, and during my practice in the country from my 29th to my 46th year, and in the city from my 46th to my 63d year, I have been obliged to stay at home from inability to practice, only ten days, when suffering from dysentery during the cholera epidemic of 1855.
October 15th. During the night which was similar to the previous one, the right tonsil became painful with retarded deglutition. The examination in the morning showed swelling and redness of the right tonsil and a diphtheritic patch on it. A moderate fever continued. Belladonna.
From the 16th to the 18th of October. Enlargement of the diphtheritic patch towards the uvula, the patch began to ulcerate; gradually increased inflammatory condition of the mucous membranes of the bronchial tubes. The fever remained the same, profuse offensive nightly perspirations with increasing debility. Mercurius, Apia, Nitr. acid.
19th. Till now I had been able to lie on the sofa during the day, but could not do so any more. The diphtheria had extended to the point of the uvula, voice hoarse, speech difficult, much expectoration of mucus. Fever and night sweat increased. Three physicians were now visiting me, and declared the uvula in danger. They ordered a solution of Kali chloricum, every two hours one tablespoonful, which I took.
21st. The diphtheria is also extending downwards, towards the larynx; there were also some spots in the pharynx, great debility, very disagreeable taste, like decomposed brine of of herring; expectoration, hawking and coughing up of great quantities of mucus. Entire aversion to eating and drinking, the only thing I could swallow with great difficulty was some light beer, when swallowing I had a pain as if rows of large needle-points were driven into the fauces - no stool — urine dark, putrid smelling, no sediment. I now declared to my three colleagues, this morning, that I did not wish to take any more Kali chloricum, but would take Arsenicum, and they assured me that I had anticipated their proposition, I took, then, every two hours, a few pellets of Arsenic6. My colleagues demanded that I should submit to the external application of Argentum nitricum, and have the diphtheritic ulcers touched by it. I then asked to have the opinion of my friend, Clottar Mueller, of Leipzig, who was summoned by telegraph and met the three colleagues at half-past nine, p, m.; he declared that he finally agreed with the treatment, which was continued on the 22d of October.
23d, The diphtheritic ulcers have a better appearance, and new spots have not appeared; but the bronchitis has become worse, causes much rattling of mucus in the chest, and I am afraid of paralysis of the lungs. I, therefore, took Carbo veg24 in alternation with Arsenic.
24th. Some improvement, the diphtheritic ulcers look cleaner, so that my colleagues consented to desist from the painful application of Argentum nitr. The bronchitis is no worse. Continue the same medicine.
The diphtheritic ulcers healed towards the end of the month, the bronchitis was better, the fever left me, the night sweats were less and I slept better, while I continued to take the Arsenic since the 25th. The uvula alone remained affected by diphtheria. I could eat soups, roasted meats and compote, and drank claret with sugar and water, and even a glass of champagne noon and night, although it caused me some burning on the throat.
In the beginning of November I was so far convalescent that I could dress myself, walk about the room and attend to my correspondence. I have yet to remark that I felt a sensation of numbness in the skin of the exterior side of the upper leg during the second week of my sickness, and also the same numbness with tingling in the points of the fingers, at first in the thumb, then in the index finger and later in the toes, beginning in the big toe; this remained unaltered until the end of December.
The convalescence was interrupted in the middle of November by renewed fever with night sweats; by renewed but now paralytic difficulties in swallowing, with catarrh of the month, larynx, stomach and bowels, also of a paralytic nature. The vocal muscles and the muscles of the alimentary canal participated in it.
I could only swallow one teaspoonful of fluid, at a time and had then to be very careful, if I swallowed more it escaped from the nose; solids remained before the veluin and had to be hawked out again with much difficulty. The uvula was hanging towards the left side. I had a nasal voice, if I spoke I soon became hoarse and even lost the voice, could not modulate my voice. I could perceive no motion in the abdomen, no eructation, no noise, no flatulency, no stool. When I finally had a passage after an enema of soap water, oil, molasses and salt, I felt so debilitated and exhausted that I feared to die. With it a great aversion to eating and drinking, so that I had to force myself to take something and when I took anything I felt nothing of it in my stomach. Nothing had its natural taste, I had a decided sensation of tingling and numbness in the mucous membranes of the mouth and the saliva which was very profuse, tasted salty, sour and putrid. While in this condition my nourishment consisted, in the morning, of a few small crackers soaked in cocoa; at noon, I took six to eight small English oysters and the same at night, and then I drank a small glass of champagne in very small sips, besides that I consumed during the day one pint of water and claret, with sugar.
This was the turning point and I now gained slowly both flesh and strength, while the developed paralytic symptoms diminished; but my hopes soon to recover were not realized, for at the end of the year a new ailment showed itself.
The sensation of numbness and tingling in the fingers and toes remaining after the diphtheria and which had increased but a little, became now much stronger, extended itself and was accompanied by motory paralysis.
January, 1864. Hands, forearms, feet, lower legs feel as if they were asleep, the same sensation less intense in the upper parts of the arms and legs. When these parts are touched a burning and tingling pain; and when moving the hands and feet a sensation as if the nerves were exposed and covered by coarse felt. Hands and feet somewhat swollen (not edematous), and they with the forearms and lower legs inclined to be cold and to perspire. I could neither walk nor stand, nor make the necessary use of my arms. I could not sit down without help, nor lie down without being assisted, and my position had to be changed when I could endure it no more; the hands refused their service for eating and drinking, the appetite was better, but the stool sluggish. I did not feel what I touched, could not hold anything, and dropped everything I touched.
This helpless condition lasted during all January; I took Nux vomica, Secale corn., Cocculus and Rhus during the first half of the month without any benefit. Later I dispensed with the use of all medicines. During February, while I took proper diet, I gained somewhat, and the improvement continued so that I could resume my practice in March. Some symptoms (those I had at first, numbness in finger-points, tingling and numbness in the toes) still continue while I write this, May 7th, but I hope they will soon leave.
Epicrise. - l. There is nothing exceptionable in naming diphtheria as we do exanthemas, as they resemble other things (measles, scarlatina, rash) according to the locality in which they appear, if it does not lead us into the error of looking upon the local affection as the ultimate consequence of the disease, and the point to be attacked by our therapeutic action.
The appearance of the local affection, in my case over twenty four hours after the beginning of the disease, and the serious consequences not to be explained by the diphtheritic local affection, prove with all certainty that the local affection was not the ultimate consequence of the diphtheria.
The ganglions of the trophic nervous system can only be attacked protopathically through an abnormal irritation in the arterial blood which communicates it to them, there is no other possibility, and such an abnormal irritation which is present in the arterial blood and circulates with it, can only be a dynamic virulent irritation; because a mechanical irritation can neither be present everywhere in the arterial blood nor can it circulate with the blood. Out of this I draw the conclusion that the cause of the disease of diphtheria consists in a specific poison in the blood, and that the ultimate result of this is a blood poisoning; and this assertion is confirmed by the contagious eruptive diseases analogous to the diphtheria. The diphtheritic local affection is, therefore, the result and effect of the localized poison.
2. One of the primary effects of the cause of disease was in my case also a change in various nerves ascending from the periphery, which only further developed itself in the various nerves, not simultaneously, but after the disease, and showed itself as paralysis. I cannot, therefore, think with Eisenmann, who considers thrombosis to be the cause of paralysis, which frequently develops itself after diphtheria during the convalescence; because then the first indications of paralysis in the sensitive fibres of the affected nerves could not have preceded for weeks the further development and progress of the paralysis of the other nerve fibres. How it happens that the diphtheritic paralysis develops itself during the convalescence and that then, as in my case, eventually different parties of nerves consecutively become paralyzed remains a problem.
3. The diphtheria reached its acme on the seventh day. It is not likely that this could have happened sooner, as it takes three or five days in lighter cases, and whether it would have taken place without the aid of medicines, or would have been a fatal case remains doubtful, as that depends on incalculable conditions; it is certain that my disease did not progress any further after I began to take the Arsenic, and ceased after taking it and for a few days in alternation with Carbo veg., and that these medicines may have been the cause of it. That Kali chlor. did not relieve me, is also acknowledged by the colleagues who prescribed it for me. Similar experiences have been made at Berlin during an epidemic there.
4. The burning of the diphtheritic ulcers with Nitrate of silver, which was considered necessary by my physicians, to prevent the ulceration from spreading into the larynx caused me much pain. I could not believe that I would obtain a corresponding benefit from it, because this was contrary to my scientific convictions; nevertheless I submitted to it in my dangerous condition under the advice of four colleagues in whom I had confidence.
My scientific conviction has since been strengthened by the experiences of an allopathic colleague on the North Sea, who observed, during an epidemic of diphtheria, that cauterization was more injurious than beneficial, because it favored the development of other ulcers in other places, and also by the experience of my friend Fieltz, who has seen very bad diphtheritic ulcers become cleaner and finally heal under the alternate use of Arsenic and Nux vomica.
5. The homoeopathic remedies which I took for the paralysis, which gradually developed itself during convalescence from the diphtheria, proved to have exerted no favorable influence, and after these paralytic conditions had remained at their height, they gradually retrograded without any aid. Similar experiences have also been made under allopathic treatment. This confirms to me the opinion I have expressed above, ” that the paralysis which develops itself during the the convalescence from diphtheria depends upon a material change of the respective nerves, which is, a remnant of the effects of the cause of the diphtheria, a residuum of the disease and therefore - as the main disease itself-can only be conquered by the effort of nature, and certainly is conquered if it does not result in death!“
Reviews and Deductions. - We shall understand Dr. Schneider's position perfectly, and shall be able to account for those singular statements if we read his Hand Book, of which he published the first and only volume in 1853. Dr. Schneider attempted to arrange the Materia Medica according to the physiological effects of the medicines, and tried to make the provings subservient to this mode of classification, entirely forgetting that we have nothing to do with forms of diseases, but with characteristic symptoms.
Dr. Schneider relates that he had diphtheria, and for that disease he and his colleagues prescribed. In the symptoms, as related, we find nothing characteristic except that the diphtheritic spots and consequent ulceration began on the right side, and from there spread to the left side. None of the remedies taken had a similarity to the symptoms, they all and many more, and indeed almost every remedy, may cure a case of diphtheria prodded its characteristic symptoms are similar to those of the patient. In this case, to judge from the few symptoms given, Belladonna should have been followed by Lachesis and the later followed by Lycopodium, on account of the direction the disease had taken, from the right to the left side, and not by medicine chosen for the pathological condition, which erroneous proceeding finally led to the administration of Kali chloricum in large doses, and produced only increased suffering instead of relief or a cure. Then Arsenic was taken in the sixth every two hours for many days, while the diphtheritic spots were touched by Nitrate of silver. From the relation of the case there appears no indication for either remedy, save that other cases of diphtheria had been reported to have been cured by one or the other of the two heroic medicines. — Nitrate of silver, as is often the case improved (dried up) the ulcers, but the bronchitis became worse, the disease extending where the cauterization could no longer molest it. The paralysis which now followed was plainly the effect of the repeated doses of Arsenic, and had nothing to do with the diphtheria; the first premonitory symptoms appeared soon after Arsenicum was beginning to show its effects, they developed themselves fourteen days later, and again ceased as is the case in all well conducted and good provings of medicines, returning after the lapse of twenty-one days; they were not affected by any medicine and ceased of their own accord; they disappeared in the reverse order in which they had appeared, and the symptoms remaining were the same as at first after taking Arsenic. By comparing the effects of Arsenic as Hahnemann gives them in his Chronic Diseases, the symptoms 796 [The hands are stiff and without feeling.], 803 [Strong creeping in the hands at night], 886 [Numb pains in the right foot; when sitting she is able to raise it high up with the aid of the hands.], 892 [Swelling of the feet.], 955 [Sinking of the forces.], 956 [General debility, especially in the legs, which are scarcely able to be moved], 957 [The forces continue to sink], 958 Debility, as one suffered from want of force, through lack of nutriment], 959 [The power of the hands and feet is as if lost to him; they are tremulous. Early in the morning.], 979 [Emaciation], 1020 [As if paralyzed in all the extremities; he cannot step aright.], 1021 [Paralysis, could not walk anymore.],1024 [Paralysis of the lower extremities.], 1025 [Paralysis of the lower extremities with loss of sensibility,], [As many of our readers may be unable to turn to the original Hahnemann's proving of Arsenic for the purpose of making the comparison which Dr. Lippe suggests, we give a translation of these symptoms.] most certainly corroborate my views of the case.
|The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 04 No. 03, 1864, pages 204-213
|Pathological Conditions No Indication of Treatment
|errors only; interlinks; formatting