The surgeon, who in connection with operative procedure, prescribes medicines according to the homoeopathic law possesses great advantages. The value however of such is not, or cannot be for a considerable period of time, either well understood or fully appreciated, because there are so few professional gentlemen of our school who devote any time or attention to surgery, and those few are prevented in many instances from having their share of surgical operations, by the prevalent popular notion, that a homoeopathic physician is nothing but a globulist, a vendor of little pills, who fears a lancet and faints at the sight of blood. How many families, who even appreciate the system of Hahnemann, and who approve and use it, if a fracture occur, or a wound be inflicted, send for an allopathic surgeon.
This popular idea will take time for its overthrow, particularly as many members of the antiquated school of physic endeavor to strengthen and spread such erroneous notions; and also because there are a great number of uneducated men, who by means of the beauty and truthfulness of the homoeopathic law, are enabled to cure serious and dangerous diseases by the administration of globules, prescribed according to the routine laid down in every work upon practice. For instance, Aconite and Belladonna may be prescribed for a case of scarlet fever, and Aconite, Bryonia, Rhus, or Phosphoric acid for typhoid symptoms, and the patients may be cured, and the individual who prescribed the medicines receives the credit of vanquishing dangerous disease, whereas he may be perfectly ignorant of the true nature and pathology of the affection. To such men as these Anatomy is a closed book, and consequently Surgery a dead letter. They eschew the evil to prevent being detected in their quackery. In the second place there are many over enthusiastic Homoeopathists, who, aware of the powerful action exercised by certain remedial agents in surgical diseases, would believe, or endeavor to believe, and “teach men so” that operative Surgery is only to be resorted to in cases of accident, etc., while dynamized medicines exhibited according to the law of Similia, will cure all tumours and aneurisms, exostoses, abscesses and ulcers without mechanical interference. — Hence the very common remark “I did not suppose that homoeopathic physicians ever resorted to surgical instruments.”
Again and particularly the exclusive study of symptomatology, to the neglect of surgical, pathological or anatomical science, has a great tendency to induce in the mind of the student a distaste for these important collateral branches of medical science. The study of barren and often incongruous symptoms is lain down to be the great labor of life; while the investigations of those sciences upon which not only Surgery, but true Therapeutics rests is considered of no import.
As in most instances of this kind, the extremes are both wrong. Operative surgery will ever hold its legitimate position in medical science, and Homoeopathy, while it lessens the number of surgical operations, will save an immense amount of suffering, both in the treatment after operative procedure, and in the medical treatment of surgical diseases.
On the 16th of April, 1861, a child about nine months old, was brought to my office from Illinois to ascertain what were the prospects of a cure. On removing the bandage from the face, I found an opening immediately under the left eye, with a sinus running on the outer face of the superior maxillary bone and opening beneath the upper lip a few lines from the frenum; on passing a probe through the opening, it distinctly felt carious bone, and I proposed to lay open the cheek by an incision, take away the diseased mass with a scoop or chisel, and afterward prescribe the usual medicines. To this both parents objected, and desired that medicine should be prescribed; accordingly I made two prescriptions: No. 1, Aurum mur.6, pulv. xx; No. 2, Calc. carb.6, pulv. xx. a powder to be taken every night for one week from number one. Then to omit all medicine for one week, after which a powder to be taken every night from number two for a similar length of time, and so continue in alternation, allowing seven days interval between the administration of the different medicines.
After these directions had been strictly followed, I received a letter stating that great improvement had taken place and desiring more medicine. This I accordingly forwarded, and' in about three months had the satisfaction of seeing the child perfectly cured.
In July last (1861), a gentlemen applied for relief for ulcerated nostrils, enlargement of the turbinated bones, and a node which gave intense pain. The patient had been mercurialized for Syphilis two years previously. I gave him the third trituration of Aurum mur., followed the treatment with Mezereum and Asafoedita, and cured him in four months.
After an amputation which I performed in November last, the patient suffered severely from Neuralgia of the stump, an affection which is so excruciating in character that it calls out in allopathic practice the largest doses of Morphine, Extract of Belladonna and Quinine. For this, Aconite, Belladonna, Mezereum and Glonoine were prescribed with perfect success.
In May, I was called in consultation to see a woman, who had been unable to swallow either food or drink for some time and was absolutely in a state of starvation. She had been partly deserted and partly given over to death by her former physicians. I found a severe stricture in the upper part of the esophagus. She was so much exhausted that death was near at hand. I dilated the stricture sufficiently to allow the passage of a flexible tube into the stomach and injected about a pint of weak chicken broth into the viscus. This was done at intervals, several times. She immediately revived, and each day I introduced a larger probang. As soon as she could swallow at all I administered Cocculus and Nux vomica, and occasionally Arsenicum and Calc. carb The results produced by these medicines were certainly surprising. For several days I used only the dilators without the internal use of medicine, in order to ascertain if there were any different results, and although the stricture was dilated exactly in the same manner each time, I found upon the next attempt at introduction almost as much resistance as was manifest at the first passage of the probang. The administration of Cocculus in particular was always followed by the best results.
Some months since I performed the operation for hare-lip in a child about eight months old. Every thing went on well until about the second day when a violent coryza set in, discharge being very profuse and quite acrid. It had fallen to my experience to know that an operation of the kind carefully and skillfully performed, terminated very unfavorably from a precisely similar condition of things. The union was interfered with and the pins loosened by the acrid discharge, and I foresaw trouble. The prescription was Nitric acid and Arsenicum, and in a day the disease was arrested and the cure after the usual time was complete.
This case is merely mentioned to show the superiority of homoeopathic medicines in a surgical point of view. If the coryza had not been speedily checked, the probability is that the wound if not wholly torn apart would gape considerably, leaving an unsightly scar and a large pro labial notch, which is the bug-bear of many surgeons in labium leporinum.
The case has also taught me this lesson, that after hare-lip operations (particularly if the patient come from a distance and the surgeon has not an opportunity to superintend the after treatment), the whole surface of the upper lip, pins, ligatures, etc., should receive several coatings of Collodion, thus protecting the parts from any nasal discharges.
In February last a lady came in great trepidation to my office, assuring me that she had a “cancer in her breast.” Upon examination I detected in the left mamma a round, movable smooth tumour the size of a hen's egg. My candid opinion in reference to medical treatment of this affection was unfavorable to cure, although I could not detect the pathognomonic signs of cancer. This opinion was frankly expressed although mention was made of the recorded cases of tumours cured by the internal use of medicines. The patient stated that it was from such recommendation that she had left her allopathic surgeon to apply to Homoeopathy for relief. The prescription was Conium mac.8, pulv. xx., one night and morning.
I confess I gave the prescription in bad faith, for I supposed that the knife would be the only resort, for I had seen so much time lost in attempting to cure tumours, etc., with medicine, that I supposed that a similar result would follow in this case. The patient paid me a visit in ten days; I was somewhat surprised at a slight diminution in the size of the tumour. The medicine was continued and in six weeks a perfect cure was effected.
Numerous other cases could be added showing the great value of homoeopathic medicine both in the treatment after surgical operations, in the prevention, often, of the use of instruments, and in allaying many symptoms which would tend to render operative procedure very unsuccessful. In some future number of this periodical, it is the intention of the author to call the attention of the profession to the experience of our school on this important point.
|The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 03 No. 03, 1862, pages 112-116
|Homoeopathic Medicine in Surgery.
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