Digitalis In Post-Scarlatinal Dropsy.
BY E. W. BERRIDGE, M.D.
A boy had scarlatina. On the twelfth and thirteenth days from the appearance of the rash he had swelling of right hand and fingers, with scanty high-coloured urine. Digitalis Cm (Fincke) every four hours for four doses. Next day hand nearly well; urine freer and paler. Recovered. Forty-one remedies are given by Bönninghausen and Jahr under “Swelling of hands.” This list does not include Cactus or other recently-proved remedies. Neither the swelling nor the high-coloured scanty urine is diagnostic of any one remedy, being found under many. Shall we theorize pathologically, and argue that as the kidneys were the source of the mischief, we must direct our efforts to the establishment of their secretion? If so, what shall we give? Shall it be Digit., or Apis., or Terebinth.? All, and many more, act on the kidneys.
No; the homoeopathic physician takes note of apparently insignificant symptoms, which to the pathologist are of no value, because he cannot explain them. In this case the right hand and fingers were swollen. This symptom is of no importance to the pathologist; what does it matter to him whether the right hand or the left is swollen in post-scarlatinal dropsy? The homoeopathic physician, however, finds out that only five of the above forty-one have “swelling of right hand”; Digit., Hepar., Lycop., Natr-mur., and Phosph.; and of these only Digit. has in the same symptom “swelling of right hand and fingers” — another peculiarity unexplainable by the pathologist. Phosph. has indeed swelling of right index finger as well as the hand, but here the swelling becomes black and gangrenous, which is a contra-indication. Merc.-sol. has swelling of left hand; and Cactus., edema of both hands, worse in the left.