By WILLIAM HEINRICH SCHWARTZ, M. D., PERKASIE, PA.
The Homeopathician, Vol.1, JANUARY, 1912, N° 1.
So much value has been assigned to diagnosis by the majority of doctors that, to the laity, it appears all important – the « open sesame » of the art. There is a notion that if the doctor is able to demonstrate, by the blood count or the Weidal reaction, that the patient has leucocytosis or typhoid fever, his duties have been satisfactorily performed, whether the patient dies or recovers. It appears enough to know that he died of typhoid fever. As his reputation rests on his ability to make a proper diagnosis, he is so engrossed in tare for diagnosis, as years pass by, that he cares less and less about remedial agents. Finally he says there is no virtue in drugs; and, according to his experience, this is a fact.
The homœopath does not decry diagnosis. In fact, the careful homœopath becomes the expert diagnostician, from careful observation and search for symptoms. Only such work enables him to differentiate the pathognomonic and the vital symptoms. The pathognomonic symptoms he uses in classifying the remedies, and for a guide in hygienic measures.
He recognizes that diagnosis offers very little aid in selecting the proper remedy for healing the sick. It has a tendency to lead away from Homœopathy toward the routine practice of giving one or more remedies for diseases by name, e. g., Rhus and Bryonia, for rheumatism; Belladonna, Baptisia or Bryonia, or two of these in alternation, for typhoid fever. Such practice has proved unsatisfactory in results and harmful to the reputation of Homœopathy. Had every homœopath developed the practice of selecting remedies, regardless of the diagnosis, Homœopathy would today be the dominant school of medicine.
The careful prescriber who bases his selection on the symptoms of a properly recorded case, is as certain of his remedies as is an artist with a brush, of his colors. After the remedy is administered, he is able to make definite prognosis. (See Kent’s « Lectures on Homœopathic Philosophy, » Lect. 35.)
The following reports serve as illustration.
Mr. F. R., æt. 39 yrs. In bed and pitifully begging for relief.
1909 Nov. 27. Respiration intensely difficult.
Legs, tearing pain down right thigh from hip; left leg cold as ice at night.
Chest, intense pain, extending through to the back.
Liver region, sharp stitching pain; much suffering with liver.
Urine highly colored.
Cough in severe paroxysms, which are exhausting.
Changing position frequently; could not remain in one position comfortably.
Aggravation in every period of cold weather.
Aggravation intense, violent, in wet weather.
Craved hot milk, respiration easier after drinking it.
Rhus tox. 200, three dose, two hours apart.
The next day, Mr. R. said he felt like another person, and had enjoyed a grand night’s rest. The breathing was easier, and he was able to sit up.
I then elicited the following history : Five years before this, he had been a fireman in Denver, Colorado, where, during a large fire, in zero weather, he had been overheated, thoroughly soaked with water, frozen and thawed out, alternately, for several days, without rest, and living mostly on stimulants. This was followed by a severe siege of pneumonia. He suffered frequently with bronchitis, and constantly with heart trouble, which doctors pronounced « mitral insufficiency. » After several years of suffering, he was placed on the retired list, with a life pension, as incurable.
I told him that I thought he could be cured. In one week he was able to be out, gaining strength and appetite daily.
1910 Jan. 2.
Pains began to be troublesome again, in thigh and liver.
Liver much swollen, but suffering not intense enough to repeat the remedy.
Jan. 7. Violent inflammation of lungs, with symptoms resembling BRYONIA.
BRY. 200 in water. One teaspoonful every half-hour for three hours. .
If copious perspiration or sleep occurred, he was not to be disturbed nor to receive further medicine.
He slept after the fourth dose, and had a good night’s rest. For several days he progressed nicely. On the 10th of January, PHOSPHORUS being clearly indicated, I gave of the 500th, three doses, two hours apart.
Recovery was uninterrupted. By the 28th of January, 1911, he was so robust that he went to work, a thing he had been unable to do for five years.
Mr. Al. B., a ranchman, for a number of years, suffered paroxysms of dyspnœa. He came for treatment in the spring of 1908, but through several months’ observation,
I could not decide upon a remedy. He suffered intensely with constipation; had a violent temper; had taken much quinine and calomel, and was emaciated. Becoming weaker and weaker, he was finally obliged to sell his cattle, being unable to follow them. He said he could not ride his horse any more, as that always made him much worse.
This information led me to give him SEPIA 3m (J), which was repeated in three months. I never saw a more remarkable change in a patient. He progressed splendidly until September, when one of the old sieges appeared. These had recurred several times a year, since childhood,
He had terrible pain in the heart region, with intense prostration and difficult breathing. All clothing had to be opened around the throat. He lay in a stupor, without unconsciousness. Temperature 102.
LACHESIS 200, three doses, one-half hour apart, relieved him promptly, and he has not had a recurrence of these paroxysms since. He has not had a repetition of this remedy, and only once has needed any medicine. January, 1911, he received SULPHUR, I0m.
He returned to the cattle business, and is able to ride in the saddle all day, without ill effect. I since learned that when he was a boy, over thirty years ago, he was bitten, or rather, stung, by a rattlesnake.
MRS. K., æt. 65 years.
July 27. Abdomen much swollen since yesterday.
Pain in left hypochondrium and hypogastrium, extends around from the back to the abdomen, intermittent, resembling labor pains.
Amelioration, lying on back.
Head, heavy as an iron skull-cap.
Back so tired site cannot raise it.
Nausea, no vomiting. Breath, very offensive odor.
Rectum, watery offensive discharge. No fecal evacuation for twelve days.
Chilly and hot alternately; no thirst.
Cannot stand the heat of the stove.
Anxiety and restlessness; sleepiness; discontented.
Amelioration, reclining on the back.
Agg., reclining on either side.
I recognized it as a case of impacted fæces, and found in the repertory, caust., gels., lac.d., lach., OPIUM and plb. for impaction, but, as Dr. Kent had often told me, « only when the symptoms agree. »
The symptoms did not agree with the image of any of those remedies, so I inquired her history from childhood. She had the usual children’s diseases. Menstruation began at the age of sixteen, late and protracted. Had fourteen children. Headaches frontal, worse in a hot room and when near the fire. Always was warm-blooded. Sleep never refreshing. Wept when referring to her children not living. She received PULSATILLA in 200th potency, and had prompt relief, so that she had a good night’s rest.
The next day she reported pains less intense in the morning, but returning in the evening, and received PULS. 10m.
July 30. Legs, sensation of water cork-screwing and flowing down.
Jerking of legs accompanies pains.
Pain in gluteal muscles extending downward.
Abdomen, paroxysms of pain, increasing in number and intensity.
Resemble labor pains, only much worse.
Amel., sitting, and front quiet.
Agg., while lying, and from motion.
Sleepy, but cannot sleep, because of, increase in pain the moment she reclines, and inability to recline on the side.
Restlessness, unable to be quiet, but motion aggravates.
Goes from bed to chair and chair to bed.
Puls. 10m. Followed soon by rectal evacuation and general relief.
The following day she was free from pain, and in less than four days was going up and down stairs a dozen times a day.