Pure Homeopathy Defined An Address on the Question:
"Is the Homeopathic Remedy Always Sufficient
to Relieve Suffering in Incurable Cases"
by a Committee Appointed by the President of the Rochester Hahnemannian Society,
and Composed of W. G. Brownell, M.D., Julius G. Schmitt, M.D., W. H. Baker,
M.D. Rochester, N.Y.: Democrat-Chronicle Print, 1889
The following report was read January 31, 1889, before the Rochester Hahnemannian Society by Dr. G. Brownell.
The following paper was published in 1889 (one year after Lippe's death) and it is a great testimony of Hahnemannian homeopathy. It was literally rescued from complete oblivion and perhaps from complete disappearance. There is only two-known copies of this document in the world and the copy I consulted was in bad shape. Originally the paper was printed in small newspaper prints with less than adequate typesetting. It appears as if letters were given to the typesetter to figure out the text without any editing. There were therefore many mistakes that had to be corrected. Also a great part of the text was barely readable. My secretary and I spent many hours deciphering the text, which you will find here in a nicely transcribed format. It has been included in the Weight of Evidence. André Saine
Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Rochester Hahnemannian Society, the subject assigned to this committee embodied in the question, "Is the homeopathic remedy always sufficient to relieve suffering in incurable cases!," has become important at the present time in consequence of the division that has taken place in the homeopathic ranks in this city. It is also important because the use of old school palliatives to relieve suffering has always been the first step towards that unlimited liberality which honest homeopaths must denounce. It is a fact that the division to which we have just referred really exists in all the large communities of the United States, but only in Rochester, N. Y., has there been a public act of separation.
It is therefore, incumbent upon us, as pioneers in this movement, to make plain the grounds for the action we have taken. Many explanations have been advanced by different members of the Monroe County Homoeopathic Medical Society to account to an interested public for the step taken by you last October. Great care has, with one exception, been taken that these explanations should not contain the real issues in the dispute. It will be one of the preliminary objects of this paper to bring out the real reasons why we can no longer affiliate with the liberal homeopath or countenance his methods of practice.
To assist in so doing, we will recapitulate the points of difference that have been publicly ascribed to you by the so-called liberals. The one exception, noted above, and which does constitute one of the points of difference, was advanced by Dr. C. R. Sumner when he said, "I hold that when a patient is ill beyond recovery, I have a right to use medicines which will relieve him and ease him from pain."
It will be noted that the subject you have assigned us is suggested by the statement just quoted. This is the only honest, fair-minded statement of difference that your committee could obtain, and we venture the assertion that if this were the only reason for a difference of opinion, no division would have occurred in the county society of our school of medicine. Other explanations that have been publicly made have seemed to your committee absurd and false, and to carry in themselves the conviction of their absurdity and falsity.
The first of these, in priority of the time advanced, was made by Dr. H. M. Dayfoot in the Post Express, when he said , "The members of the Monroe County Homoeopathic Medical Society, despite the charges of Dr. Biegler and others, fully believe in the rules of Samuel Hahnemann. We believe that Hahnemann formulated the best law of cure. We, however, claim that there can be progress in medicine as in everything else."
This statement, on examination, seems to be a wonderful thing. It admits that the rules of Samuel Hahnemann constituted a law. Now, how can a law of nature change Can it become more or less of a law after fitly years Would he claim that under the law of gravitation an apple could be made to drop to earth faster, because of fifty years of study, research or practice We claim an advancement of the medical science in a more complete knowledge of the application of this law of similars. We know and study more drugs than were known fifty years ago. Our experiences and verifications are more complete, but the law, we claim, has not changed and never will change, whether homeopathy exists or not as a school of medicine. Shall we not pass on from this singular statement, which assumes that a law of nature can change after fifty years?
The last attempt, and it is the only other that we shall notice, to inform the public of the cause of our withdrawal, was recently made by the retiring president of the Monroe Society. It was done in an official capacity, namely by devoting one-third of the annual president's address to an effort to exhibit us as "drifting far away," whatever that may mean. Let it be incidentally remarked, that as long as the aforesaid Monroe Society maintains its present methods, your committee hope you have drifted sufficiently far to remain for ever out of sight of the eclecticism of that association.
The only difference that is claimed in this magnum opus of the above-mentioned official, aside from a ridiculous attempt to belittle our methods of prescribing, is in the assertion that you use only the higher dilutions or potencies, thus attempting to place the cause for division on the question of dose. You know, too well, the subterfuge here attempted, but for the enlightenment of any outsiders who might be deceived by such statements, we here affirm that the members of the Rochester Hahnemannian Society use potencies ranging from the lower, or sometimes even the tincture, to the highest. The third and sixth potencies are often employed.
In short, we un-hesitatingly place ourselves on record to the effect that the question of dose has absolutely nothing to do with our having taken the decided step of separating ourselves from the Monroe County Homoeopathic Medical Society and its methods. We come now to discuss the real causes which have led the members of this society to sever their connections with the county society. We wish it understood at the outset that we are prepared to uphold all the statements that shall now be made in proof of the following assertions. We charge the majority of the members of the Monroe County Homoeopathic Medical Society:
- First — With the practice of writing prescriptions which are composed of several drugs, and also prescribing remedies, in form homeopathic, to the number of two, three or four in alternation, practices which are in opposition to the rules laid down by Hahnemann, which teach the use of the single remedy.
- Second — Of a quite general use of the hypodermic syringe, to introduce such old school measures, as morphia, cocaine, etc. for the relief of pain in cases not incurable, and which plan of treatment recognizes pain as the only condition, to be alleviated. This method ignores the plain instructions to select a remedy for the "totality of the symptoms," is too often the beginning of the opium habit, and many times render the case incurable.
- Third — The use of cathartic medicines, diuretics, emmenagogues, etc., and the use of drugs for diagnosed conditions, prescribing more for the name of a disease than for the patient. Fourth—Of a general laxity of practice, under which some of their members have publicly boasted of the success they have attained with the recent fads, antipyrin and sphincter stretching.
- Lastly — That while claiming the honorable name of homeopaths, their practice is so diverse, that they can't be described by any term than eclectics, today using homeopathic remedies, tomorrow measures of the Old School and the next day both together. In consequence of this inconsistency, they have already brought opprobrium upon the name they profess to serve.
To sustain or prove the above assertions, your committee has obtained certain evidence. A prominent official of the Monroe Society has been in the habit of ordering cathartic pills in large amounts from a pharmacist in Auburn, N. Y. A member has taught a patient the use of the hypodermic syringe and furnished her with the instrument, the result being to produce the opium habit with all its evils. We have seen the prescriptions in the drug shops, calling for mixtures and compounds, and openly signed by so-called homeopaths.
A young member of this sect stated his ordinary treatment for a cold to be the alternation of a mixture of Aconite and Belladonna with a mixture of Causticum and Phosphorus. The following is a prescription given by one of these false practitioners. It was obtained from the patient himself: Aconite, Belladonna, syrup of squills and wild cherry bark for a cold he had, and salicylic acid and antipyrin for his rheumatism.
It is submitted, that such homeopathy certainly was not designed by Hahnemann, but it is equally true that the above instances are facts, and can be verified if necessary. We could extend the list, if more were needed, but enough are already given to prove the "Devil quite as black at he was ever painted" in Rochester.
To revert now is the only essential point of difference between the two factions that has been advanced by the other side, namely, the efficacy of homeopathy in incurable cases, we can produce some evidence in the affirmative. To accomplish this we have been compelled to go to the professed follower of Hahnemann. The mongrel, whose practices we have been reviewing is, by his very practice excluded. He has never tried the efficacy of true homeopathy by hard persistent work, but has speedily resorted to the narcotics of old physic, and in the stupefaction so obtained has claimed his euthanasia.
We have placed ourselves in communication for this purpose with more than a score of the leading homeopaths of this country, and can now give you their habit of practice in these cases, which wonderfully uphold the beneficent action of homeopathy when properly applied.
We will open our evidence with a letter and case from P. P. Wells, M. D. of Brooklyn, that venerable, noble old man, full of years and honors, who has practiced pure homeopathy for nearly half a century. His reply in full is as follows: "In response to yours of the 24th ult., asking for information as to whether the homeopathic [the most similar] remedy is always sufficient to relieve suffering in incurable cases, and on some other points. I would say that I don't know whether the most similar remedy will relieve the sufferings of incurable cases in all instances, but an experience of the results of the action of this remedy, in curable and incurable cases, extending through forty six years, has proved beyond all possible doubt, that this is the best possible resort in all cases of whatever nature. This has so served me through these many years, that I have had no call for other means to relieve or cure the sick in a single case.
"I have met no need of palliatives, or any of the resorts of 'old physic' in a single case in all these years. I have seen no case where there was the least reason for believing that any of these could have equaled the beneficent action of the 'most similar' remedy.
"I abandoned the practice of old physic in which I had been educated forty-six years ago and have in no case resorted to its methods since. I adopted at that time, the methods and means of the homeopathic system because I had found in it greater power to relieve and cure the sick, than was in that system in which I had been educated.
"I found the homeopathic system better and why then, when I found myself with difficult cases to care for, should I turn from this better, back to that which had been abundantly proved to me not so good for the relief of self and patient. I can see no place for temptation so to do. That there are some who call themselves "As good Hahnemann" [say as Biegler] who have done and do this, is true enough, and it is sad as it is true. We can see but one explanation of this, and this is not altogether so complimentary to these men of gristle as might be wished. We can see no other explanation of this supreme folly, which abandons law for a guess, than that these man are equally ignorant of both old physic and the specific medicine of Hahnemann.
Their practice and its results would seem to convict of both, and the consequences seem a great price to pay even for so well a sounding word as 'liberality.'
"I began to try to make homeopathic prescriptions after a careful reading of the Organon, having in view in this duty, only the symptoms of the cases, as I could gather them and those of the materia medica as they had then been gathered. We had then no ten volumes of these, but only one and this a small one, with a brief record of the proved pathogenesis of about one hundred and fifty remedies. These were studied earnestly and diligently compared with the symptoms of the sick, with no reference to names, which diagnosis might have imposed, or to the plan which a scientific, nosological arrangement might ascribe to the case. Neither of these were mentioned in the Organon as necessary to the discovery of the specific curative in any case, and we were intent on following the instructions of that peerless book, the objective being to cure the patient, not to make a parade, to myself or others, of my knowledge, scientific or otherwise, of his disease.
"I was so engaged in September 1842, when I met the first case of uterine scirrhus I had been called to treat homeopathically. I found this condition of the cervix uteri, when called to arrest a threatened miscarriage, at about the fourth month of pregnancy. This was not effected because of the extensive diseased condition of the cervix and lower portion of the uterus, which rendered the development of the organ requisite to accommodate the increasing growth of its living content impossible.
The next call was to arrest a formidable hemorrhage. This was successfully accomplished, as was that of each of the series of flooding which ended, as was inevitable, the life of the patient. The flooding had not only been arrested promptly, but the pain usually incident to uterine cancer had been so controlled that after the death of the patient the question or diagnosis of cancer was raised by the surviving friends, who were assured by practitioners of old physic that 'such a thing as cancer without pain was never heard of.' Being so instructed by those who claimed to be of authority in the case, these friends called for a post-mortem examination, and were told this would at once be performed. When I called at the late residence of the patient for this duty, I found myself face to face with no less than six old school doctors, and among them the aged and gentlemanly Nestor of old physic, in Providence, who had by his year and learning come to the position of ultimate appeal in mooted questions in his school.
"The manner of those who were younger in this half dozen, when we met, was quite peculiar, and there was no attempt at a concealment of it. It was on the verge of the hilarious. They seemed quite satisfied with the hole they had dug and into which they had come prepared to put the young doctor and his homeopathy and bury both out of sight. I was then alone in the practice of homeopathy in Providence. I proceeded at once to remove the uterus and present it first to the Nestor and then to each of the other doctors. Its disorganization by diseased process, and the name of that process were too apparent to admit of question, even by those who had come to witness the confusion of one whom they expected to see humbled and degraded. They only found themselves in the hole they had dug." The next communication is from J. T. Kent, M. D., of Philadelphia. It is given entire, as his position as a leader in homeopathy is well established: "What can be more astonishing than that professed homeopathic physicians should deny the efficacy of their own remedies!
"What greater evidence can the public ask of the ignorance of the system they profess to make use or to cure the sick! It has been known to many witnesses that I have not needed anything but homeopathic remedies in incurables. I have been giving unusual attention to incurables. In private and hospital practice, where cancer and phthisis have fallen to me to watch to the last; where the horrible pains have been present, where morphine had, in other hands, entirely failed, and in all cases, has the homeopathic remedy, when properly selected, been all that was needed. Argument will fail to convince ignorant doctors, for the reason that they cannot cure and they cannot be made to believe that any one else can cure. They do not know how to palliate and they do not believe that any one else knows how to do it. If they cannot cure, how then can they be expected to palliate or vice versa.
"You may freely say that Professor J. T. Kent has for years offered to show, without money, that the severe sufferings from phthisis and cancer, can be subdued with potentized homeopathic remedies —with the homeopathically indicated medicines. You may say that the students of Professor Kent all do it and will say openly that we do not need anodynes. They are as follows, Dr. J. A. Tomhagen of Sloan's Valley, Kentucky; Dr. R. Gibson Miller, 17 Berkley Terrace, Glasgow, Scotland; Dr. J. G. Gundlach of Spokane Falls, Washington Territory; Dr. W. L. Reed, 2009 Washington Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri, also my three lady doctors, now in the hospital here and treating incurables named, and they go through to the last without suffering, Drs. Jennie Medley, E. P. Marshall and Mary N. Sargant. The three are in the hospital under my supervision and I know that they could not hold their places unless they know all this. Let any man select cases of cancer or phthisis and bring them to our hospital, bring his own judges and we will teach him to palliate the most painful cases with the indicated remedy and that in high potencies, we challenge the world to this very test. You know that I am the consulting physician in this staff and my private incurables are all taken to this hospital.
"To give you cases would stretch out beyond your endurance, but bring the cases and if my young pupils can do the work what is the good for your Rochester mongrels to deny it! They cannot change the facts I might report cases and they would not be accepted, but here is the hospital that treats these cases and here is the place to see it done. We have many cases of phthisis and some of cancer. You could see a patient under my care who is being cured of a fibroid of the uterus, a tumor as large as your head, and she (the patient) is returning to health. Write to all the pupils named, and ask each one what be knows and how the teachings of Hahnemann have helped him. Also ask them what they have seen me do. They all know how I practice.
"It is astonishing that ignorant men will not listen to men who know how to cure. I offer the wards of our hospital, to show the work, and our work will sustain the physicians in Rochester that have resigned. The post-graduate pupils under my care and tutelage have been trained in the art of healing, and I will guarantee that each one of them can do this work. If this be true, what a shame it is for the professed homeopaths of your city to claim anodynes, as their needed means of relief!
"There is nothing of a private character in this letter. I can stand by it in action, and that at the bedside. Be sure to make emphatic, that I make this point, namely, I do not select my remedy any differently in curable and incurable cases. I am firmly convinced that a doctor who cannot select medicines closely enough to palliate an incurable, cannot select medicine closely enough to cure curable cases, and he should be trusted in no class of cases. The homeopathic physician does not know that his cases are incurable, and he selects the remedy, and that remedy palliates the sufferings of the patient in incurable cases and cures the patient in curable ones. The physician is a homeopath or he is not. He is capable or is ignorant. I offer my pupils to teach your ignoramuses. I can send one to Rochester to do just what these men say cannot be done. ... You may count me in, in your fight for the 'survival or the fittest,' call upon me for cases if you need them. I will be as happy in war as in peace. You have fairly begun and now do not let up as long as you can see ahead. I am only sorry that I am not there in body, but I have a fight on hand here as hot as yours, and the helpers are few, but the truth will be sustained."
The next is from one, of whose attainments and methods you have reason to be acquainted, I refer to the father of homeopathy in this city, Dr. Joseph A. Biegler. He says, "I am thankful to your committee for accepting the duty assigned you by the Rochester Hahnemann Society of submitting to the consideration of the practitioners, and of the laity, the questions embodied in your letter. It is an important and timely step, taken at a time when there is a recovery from a state of confusion, into which homeopathy has been placed consequently misunderstood and nearly extinct through the acts of pretenders who are in a large majority in the ranks of its practitioners.
"To justify themselves for the confusion they have created, they resort to further deception, by declaring that the difference between the true practitioner and themselves is only on a question of the potency of the drugs used in practice. As it is a fact that the practice of homeopathy is not based on a question of the potency of drugs, and that the true practitioner of that art has for his range in practice, the potencies from the lowest to the highest, it becomes necessary to make plain the real difference in order that this deception may be appreciated.
"The real difference between the homeopaths and the pretenders to that art is that the former is guided in the selection of the remedy by the law of cure, and as this law is all sufficient in all cases and under all circumstances to provide for the relief of suffering, even in the incurable cases, and as it gives support to the end of life as no other means can do. He never resorts to means outside of this beneficent provision.
"The latter class pretend to do this, but the fact that this pretension is not true is so notorious that it is only necessary to revert to their practice and to their declarations in the privacy of their own meetings and of those made in the journals which represent them, to effectually establish its falsity. Two facts are here presented. The first that the true homeopath faithfully conforms to the requirements of this law in practice. The second is that the ones who are pretenders do not conform to it.
"These two facts are already established in the minds of the people, who have had experience with the treatment of one or the other, or it may be of both. The ordinary practice of these pretenders is in direct opposition to the principles of homeopathy as given in the Organon of Samuel Hahnemann. But then the Organon is almost an unknown book to these false practitioners, so much so that it is perfectly safe to say that it would be difficult to find one of that class who had ever seen it, much less that he had ever read it. Its very name strike those who know anything of it with the terror exhibited by Mephistopheles when he heard the heavenly tones of the cathedral chimes.
"On the question you advance, 'Is the homeopathic remedy always sufficient to relieve suffering in incurable cases ' I answer yes with certainty, if the practitioner be not so light-minded as to ignore the law and the welfare of the patient. It is however easier for him to evade his duty than to perform it. What I say here is said openly and I will further say that there are too many witnesses of its truth and none who can controvert it among these who have had experience in my practice in the past ten or fifteen years. Numbers of cases could be cited by all true practitioners to illustrate the beneficent office of this law of Him whom no name can worthily designate.
"I here give one illustration bearing on the question; it is of a case, and one on which professed homeopaths make a stand to justify their departure, in practice, claiming that their duty to incurable suffering patients demands it. It is the case of a lady who was well known and highly esteemed in this community and the facts in regard to her case are also well-known.
"The disease was uterine cancer, involving vagina, which was in a honeycomb state. She had suffered, as such cases do, a lingering death. Under the palliative treatment of cocaine, chloroform, liniment, etc., she scarcely experienced an hour of relief from agony during the several months she was under that treatment. She was brought here from her home in New York, with the apprehension on the part of her attending physicians, and of her friends, that she would die on the way. With her came a basketful of preparations, of the various strengths of cocaine and mixtures of liniment, provided by the attending physicians.
"In this, her last stage of suffering, all palliative treatment of the above description was discarded from the next day after her arrival and the indicated remedy only given. She lived nearly two months after her arrival with comparatively little suffering, and with such relief as to enable her to devote hours in finishing a piece of memorial work to which her loving heart had long been devoted. She died without suffering and in keeping with the repose of a gentle sleep to the consolation of her friends, whose gratitude was expressed to the author of this beneficent law; which is not regarded by some well-meaning and honest men among the processed homeopaths, because their opportunities in their medical studies, in the so-called homeopathic colleges, have not afforded them a knowledge of it, or of the principles which emanate from it as given by the master in his Organon, and which is daily being defiled by a class who 'wear the livery of heaven, to serve the devil, etc.' "
The following, is from W. A. Hawley, M. D. of Syracuse: "I am heartily glad of the step recently taken by the real homeopaths of Rochester, in separating from the mass of physicians, who, while assuming the name of homeopaths continually, in practice, deny and transgress its law—the law of the curative relation of drugs to human ailment. They profess to believe this law, but claim its inadequacy to afford relief to the hopelessly sick, that it has no power to smooth the way down into the 'valley of the shadow of death,' and therefore they must forsake their principles at this trying hour and resort to the questionable methods of the so-called 'regular' school of medicine. That which will cure cannot afford relief! What absurdity!
"You ask my experience. It is simply this: I abandoned the methods of the 'regulars' thirty-five years ago, and never since have I in one single instance had occasion to resort to other than homeopathic remedies to relieve that sufferings of the dying. I will give you a few marked cases: In the winter of 1865-66, Mary B., aged about nineteen, was sick and dying of phthisis pulmonalis. Three or four days before the end she experienced a marked aggravation of the cough which became almost constant. Her parents and attendants became clamorous for an anodyne to alleviate. I selected the remedy and gave it in the thirtieth potency, but so urgent were the family for something more, that I consented to allow them to send for morphia. Before the drug could be obtained the remedy that I had exhibited had produced such complete relief that she could not be induced to take the morphia powders, and they remained on the mantel after my patient had peacefully passed away.
"Case II. In the autumn of 1870, Mrs. F. C. was dying of consumption. She had been troubled with sleeplessness for some days until the patient and her sisters, one of whom was an eclectic physician, became very anxious that she should receive a dose of chloral. I declined to give it. Against my advice they obtained and gave it. The next morning her first words were, 'Oh! Doctor, I have been in Heaven all night.' She had taken one dose of chloral which produced stupefaction speedily. The next night, she did not take it and did not sleep — on the following night she took it and, not sleeping, took a second dose but without sleep. In the morning, she said, 'Doctor, I have been in hell all night.' I never saw so nervous a person as she then was and continued to be until she died. The drug, chloral, remained as a perfect bar to the indicated remedy and she would take no more old school drugs although urged to do so by her sisters and others.
"Case III. From 1865 to 1876, I had a patient, an old lady, suffering from cancer of the breast. During these eleven years, the pains and the hemorrhage incident to this condition were readily controlled by the indicated remedy, even to the hour of her death. For all these pains she got no medicines lower than the thirtieth potency and often the two-hundredth. Her death was painless and peaceful. At about the time of her death, it was my sad experience to see the sufferings and death of a friend from cancer of the womb under the so-called 'regular' treatment. I can truly say that again and again I saw her suffer more in one hour than did my patient during the whole eleven years. Her agonies were horrible and largely the result of drugs. Her last intelligible words were,
'If you know of anyone suffering from cancer, tell them not to take morphine.'
"Case IV. Miss A. F. C. aged 40, was under my care from spring until late October 1878. The disease was scirrhus of the breast extending into the lungs with death from hydrothorax as was demonstrated by an autopsy. She suffered often from the characteristic pains, but was always soon relieved by the indicated remedy. Her death was as peaceful as possible and was unaccompanied by a single struggle, as I stood by her side and saw her expire.
"Case V. During the past autumn, I lost an old client and friend, who died, as I believe, from a malignant tumor in the abdomen, although no autopsy was allowed. Some three weeks before he died, he asked me to give him something that would make him 'sleep right out.' I replied, 'Why, my good fellow, you do not want to go off without your head do you ' He thought a moment and answered, 'No,' with emphasis. I said I will not make you drunk, but I will let you down so quietly and easily that you will scarcely know you are going, and I did it. Ten or twelve days before the end, he had paroxysms of difficult breathing when he must have windows and doors open and must be fanned, very briskly. Any homeopath will name the drug indicated. Half an hour before be expired, he called for this remedy and got immediate relief, even in the midst of death. What else could he expected of a drug which cures those conditions in curable cases, but relief in any case "
The next is the reply of Dr. Clarence Willard Butler, "While I can assure you that your information is correct and my custom is to treat all classes of cases by the use of homeopathic remedy unaided by drug adjuvant, I have 'fallen from grace' lately under peculiarly trying circumstances and I send you a record of the case. I know, no one better, how incomplete must have been my knowledge not to have relieved my patient with the homeopathic remedy. I tried faithfully for twenty-four hours but did not find it. The rest of the story the report will tell without 'notes' from me in this place. Enough that it was my first lapse from what, I consider correct treatment, for some years, and the experience will not make me crave 'the flesh-pots of Egypt' for some time to come.
"In regard to my custom in practice of rejecting the palliative drugs and measures of the old school, it may not be out of place to say a few words. I know of no a priori reason for not expecting the curative drug—the homeopathic—to he also the palliative. Indeed in those cases recognized by skilled and conscientious medical men, as self limiting or necessarily fatal (e. g, renal colic as an instance of the first class and phthisis or cancer of the other) where pain is one of the symptoms and that, one which is most severe, and seemingly requires the most immediate attention, I used to have a theory in common with many others, that the use of palliatives was not only common humanity and good practice, but often an absolute necessity.
"The reason that I now reject these agents in practice is that I have learned by careful experimentation. I know from personal observation that the homeopathic remedy reduces the aggregate of suffering to the minimum. The theory of any man is of no value; the experience of any man is valuable, in just so much as he is skilled to observe and faithful to experiment.
"Thus when experiment had shown me that even I could reduce the aggregate of suffering without these adjuvant, I had but one course to pursue. We must never forget that homeopathy faithfully applied is continually reducing the number of incurable diseases, and in such cases, when we have the testimony of many men, that a larger measure of relief may be afforded by their treatment homeopathically, we must ever give the patient even the remotest chance of ultimate recovery.
"Eight years ago, I was called to see a case of cancer of the breast (scirrhus). It was so diagnosed by my predecessor in the case, by a consulting physician and by myself. An operation, removal of the breast, was advised. The consulting physician frankly said, that an early operation would probably prolong life only, (and even that was not positive) and would palliate, in that for sometime after the removal of the tumor, there would be no pain. I demurred, and with the concurrence of my patient commenced to treat her for such conditions as presented themselves from time to time. Many remedies were used for varying conditions during the next four years, always the single remedy, and always stopping medication during any improvement in general conditions.
"Result, the woman is well and has been for more than three years. I wish you and your confreres all success in the good work you have undertaken. If the enclosed record, of my ignorance and error, can aid any one of you, to avoid a similar mistake and painful experience, I shall be glad I have reported it—although I hesitated long before concluding to do so—having none of Dogberry's ambition, 'to be writ down an ass.' "
Dr. Butler's reported case is highly instructive and is as follows: "Miss M. V., of light complexion, small and spare, has inherited together with the tubercular diathesis, (both of her parents having died of consumption) an excessively nervous temperament and a willful ungovernable disposition, which has been made worse by lack of early, healthful discipline. She is now in the last stages of consumption.
"For several years she had taken powerful purgatives from time to time, her bowels never moving without such stimuli. In October, her bowels, which had become much better under remedies suited to her general condition, became obstinately constipated, not moving at all for ten days. She was comfortable, however, and no special prescription for this condition was made. But, from long continued belief, that constipation was 'the unpardonable sin' she was not satisfied 'to leave well enough alone,' and insisted upon having something administered which should purge her.
"Of course I declined to accede to her wishes and gave the nurse strict orders that no such measures be resorted to. This provoked a most pronounced opposition on her part, which culminated in about twenty-four hours in a violent attack of hysteria. She insisted that she suffered the tortures of the lost, in abdominal and rectal pains, and by her violent screams made everyone in the house uncomfortable. It so happened she was in a boarding house, where, among others, a sick person resided. The shrieks of my patient made this person worse and my endeavors to control her nervousness were only partially successful. Did you ever treat a nervous patient in a boarding house where at least a half of the boarders were violently opposed to your school of medicine, and the other half confident that they knew more about medical treatment in your 'pathy' than you did!
"Between the skepticism of the one-half and the kindly ( ) advice of the other, my patient's grandmother, the only near relative she had, was nearly as hysterical as the patient. She therefore begged me to do something—anything to relieve her suffering. The invalid, before mentioned, told me (by messenger) I must do something or she would die. The boarders, according to their dispositions, were sympathetic or ugly, over the noises and disturbance.
"Now I do not think I am lacking in that determination and firmness which is so necessary a part of a doctor's character, but here was a case where, if ever, an anodyne was needed. The case was incurable, the necessity for relief urgent, the surroundings almost imperative. Was not my patient losing more vitality, from her present condition, than she could from the administration of a drug, which would, at least, produce surcease of all her sufferings She received a dose of morphia. A more pleasant effect I have never seen from this drug; quiet and sleep followed the manifestations of the preceding hours; the patient was blissful, the boarders appeased, the grandmother tearfully grateful.
"I have never regretted giving that dose of morphia but once—but that is ever since I gave it. After several hours of sleep, my patient awoke feeling exhausted and faint, but no food could be suggested which she would take. She had no nausea, but a disgust for food prevented her taking even a swallow of milk. Uncomfortable and unhappy, she wanted another dose of the anodyne—nothing else would relieve her; nothing else would she take, for she
'On honey-dew had fed,
And drank the milk of Paradise.'
"Her appearance was ghastly, her skin moist and cold, and her face bloodless; the pulse small and weak, the heart action feeble and occasionally intermittent, still she screamed for the morphine—'that better medicine." It is needless to say she didn't get it, in view of her condition, and it is impossible to adequately describe the struggle of the following month, for it took no less than that time to undo the mistake of that night.
"It would require a volume to record the varying symptoms presented during that time, but briefly her general condition may be stated as follows: Before this well-nigh 'fatal error' her appetite had been very good for her condition: after it, she had absolutely none. Before, her strength, while gradually waning, had not been accompanied by a commensurate sensation of weakness; after, the sense of exhaustion was extreme and terribly distressing. Before, she had been cheerful and hopeful; after, she was depressed and hopeless, sad and tearful. Before, she looked forward to that time when she would be well again; after, to that time when she would be 'out of the way.' Before her sleep had been peaceful, although she had slept in short naps only; after her sleep was full of dreams and she invariably awoke exhausted. Before, she did not have night sweats, for a month after she always had exhausting sweats when sleeping.
"Of course her constipation was more obstinate, with no relief of the mental anxiety over this condition and, indeed, with no little physical suffering from it.
"Persistent, honest work hag made her again comfortable, and she is now surely and steadily going down to the dark river with almost no pain and comparatively little suffering—even from the nervousness which has, all her life been her bête noire."
Dr. B. L. B. Baylies, of Brooklyn, writes, "The homeopathic simillimum has, in my practice, always relieved the sufferings of those dying or, cancer, of phthisis and other protracted and painful diseases, and the dynamic power of the higher potencies has often astonished me by its rapidity and successful operation."
From W. P. Wesselhoeft, M. D., Boston, we have this to present, "In answer to yours of the 24th of December, I wish to make the statement that I never use other methods than those strictly in accordance with the law of similars 'to relieve pain' or other agonies.
"During a practice of thirty-five years, I have become more firmly convinced, from year to year, that the homeopatically indicated remedy is in all respects the best to give the patient the most relief, whether in the agonies of death or during the course of an incurable disease. The determination of this remedy is not always an easy task, but the labor spent in its discovery is much more satisfactory then to resort to the usual means of stupefying the patient by poisonous doses of drugs allopathically indicated.
"One of the most painful cases of disease coming under my notice was one occasioned by an embolus in the femoral artery of a seventy-five year old lady . The symptoms, at first, pointed strongly to Secale cornutum, which was given without relief for several hours. Arsenicum album also failed, even after the aversion to external covering of the part, had given place to a desire to have the limb covered. Cantharis, however, cured the pain in a few hours and the limb remained absolutely painless for nineteen days, during which time the limb mummified, and a distinct line of demarcation, formed below the middle thigh. Amputation was performed on the twenty-first day, after the formation of the embolus. The patient is still living and in good health, now in her eighty-sixth year. Can we not, with justice, ask, what would have been the result of this operation, after three weeks of drugging with opium."
W. S. Gee, M. D., of Chicago, has this to say, "While I am in full sympathy with you, I question whether the good to be obtained by any array of statements will pay for the pains taken. Our willful doubters will not believe and act upon it. Life is too short and 'though one were to rise from the dead' they would not believe. Go on. We sometimes question whether 'the right will prevail' but perhaps we are too anxious for speedy results."
From E. B. Nash, M. D., Cortland. N.Y., comes the following, "After twenty-five years of honest experimenting, I am firmly convinced that the best remedy to produce euthanasia is the homeopathically indicated one. I used in my earlier practice to resort to morphine when I was satisfied that my patient must die and I wished, or the patient wished me, to ease him or her down to death. For a few doses they often suffered less pain and expressed great satisfaction and gratitude for the relief. But if they lived any length of time, I found that the morphia, not only failed to secure the relief from suffering that it did at first, but invariably seemed to add greatly to it. In many cases I have had patients beg me not to give them any more morphine, because they suffered more with than without it.
"It is a delusion and a snare. It is a moment's pleasure for an hour of pain. Even with my years of experience, it is very often difficult to select the true remedy, but when once selected and applied, I have not only seen the desired relief brought about in fatal cases, but wonderful cures brought in cases, which from any human standpoint seemed absolutely incurable. I am sure that many lives that might have been saved, or greatly prolonged, have been lost or shortened by allopathic measures for producing an easy death."
From across the continent comes these words of cheer and encouragement, written by A. McNeil, M. D., of San Francisco, " In moribund cases my experience is, that the remedy, indicated by the totality of the symptoms, is amply sufficient to avert suffering. The remedy will give relief generally for a shorter time than in curable cases, but when its action is exhausted, if the same remedy remains indicated, it will continue to afford relief, if given in a higher potency.
"When in a serious case the administered remedy only relieves the pain, without producing a fundamental improvement, I consider it ominous and often find the case incurable.
"I cordially endorse the action of the members of the Rochester Hahnemann Society in withdrawing from the county society. When there is no further prospect of enlightening the polypaths, then further intercession in societies is folly."
Dr. H. C. Allen, editor of the Medical Advance, sends a few words of Godspeed, "In my practice, I have no use for allopathic palliatives, even in incurable cases. The similar remedy is much more efficacious in the alleviation of pain, in incurable sicknesses, and leaves no 'after clap'—no drug effects—often much more troublesome than the original affection, behind it. You have my hearty sympathy in your fight for the right. Go on; it is only a question of time. Yon are on the side of the truth, which, in its conflict with error, has been and ever will be triumphant."
G. W. Sherbino, of Abilene, Texas, says, "I claim superiority for the indicated remedy in incurable cases, provided the remedy is selected with care and according to the rules of Hahnemann; any other treatment than this is not homeopathic and the sooner the public understands this, so they can distinguish the true from the false, the better for the public."
Dr. James B. Bell, of Boston, writes, "I have no difficulty in treating all cases, of acute pain, without narcotics."
S. Seward, M. D., of Syracuse, N. Y., "I have depended entirely upon the carefully selected simillimum, to relieve the pain of the sick and dying, for the past thirty years, and have, under no circumstances used anything else."
We will class the communications with one from George H. Clark, M D., of Philadelphia. He writes as follows, "I am heartily at one with you, and the other Hahnemannians with you. To the question you ask in regard to the suffering of incurables, I answer—any one, who has had experience in honestly applying the homeopathic law, can positively answer—yes. Not only this: If he has seen anything of the use of palliatives, as advocated by many so-called homeopaths, he will not hesitate to compare results. For the results palliation in the form of powerful drugs is almost invariably followed by an aggravation of the pain and other symptoms present, and their continued use will convert a curable into an incurable condition.
"A practice of over sixteen years, in which a fair share of representative cases of various diseases have been under my care, including the most painful affections, in not one of which an anodyne, narcotics, soporifics or anything, but that demanded by the law of homeopathy, has been used enables me to reply in the affirmative to your question.
"The following case will illustrate: A man, aged 48, has been under the treatment of a so-called homeopath for a painful affection, which has been diagnosed, dyspepsia. After several months of treatment without benefit, he came under my care. I found the following: Sensation of great fullness on taking a few mouthfuls of food followed almost immediately by gnawing, burning pains and tenderness in the region of the stomach: Great tenderness over the entire abdomen, cannot bear the least pressure; intense, sharp pain in abdomen, constant, but worse in afternoon and evening, with much swelling.
"Examination revealed a tumor in the region of the cardiac orifice of the stomach. There was great emaciation, occasional vomiting, much mental depression, sleeplessness from pain, obstinate constipation, alternating with an occasioned soft, acrid stool, which aggravated the abdominal pain. Here was, unquestionably, cancer of the stomach. The symptoms, indicating the conditions were so plain, that it was thought astonishing that anyone professing a knowledge of disease could possibly be so myopic as not to be able to make a correct diagnosis.
"The prognosis, considering the depressed mental and physical state, and the length of time the disease had been progressing, was of course unfavorable. The question was to find a remedy to relieve the suffering. No thought was given to other than homeopathic measures, and after a study of the case, I began treatment with Lycopodium. In a few hours all the symptoms were relieved and the remedy discontinued. After two weeks the patient was able to take appropriate food with less pain than for several months previous. The remedy was continued, when necessary, for two months, and always with the same result, relief of all painful symptoms. Death came, but the man retained his mental powers to the last, and yet was saved from the distressing conditions, which follow the use of drugs, powerful for harm only.
"Compared with cases in which anodynes are used, I am sure that one need have no fear of trusting to homeopathy alone for true euthanasia."
Mr. President: In the consideration of these communications, the fact should not be forgotten, that, we are not engaged in a controversy with the older school of medicine. We rather, much as we may differ, recognize their right to use these narcotics in incurables, as it is in accordance with their professions. But what shall be said of the men, who, while claiming the honor of being Hahnemann's truest followers, Anglo maniac-like, ape the practices they profess to disown, and only conform to the selfish usage of being "all things to all men." "By their works ye shall know them."
In examining the statements, in regard to habit of practice, and the reports of relief afforded in incurable diseases, it would seem wonderful, that there should be such unanimity of opinion, were the fact forgotten that these men have been practicing medicine according to a law. But when we re-call the fact, that the law of healing promulgated by the great Hahnemann is infallible, then such results as we have read are only the ordinary events to be expected.
The cases reported, as you will have readily seen, are the most intractable, incurable, and attended by the most excruciating pain that the medical profession encounters. The results, are generally complete palliation and in all palliation, sufficient to allow the patients to attend to their final preparations, for the supreme event in human existence.>What a contrast to the results of narcotism! On the one hand, complete possession of all the powers of the intellect; on the other, the faculties of the mind, benumbed and befogged, and even though there be an absence of pain for a time, when the force of the drug is spent, the suffering returns increased in power.
We can give no description of the after effects of opium, so effective as the following words of Coleridge, who wrote from experience, "Conceive," he says, "a poor, miserable wretch, who for many years has been attempting to beat off pain by a constant recurrence to a vice that reproduces it. Conceive a spirit in hell employed in tracing out for others the road to that heaven from which his crimes exclude him. In short, conceive whatever is most wretched, helpless and hopeless, and you will form as tolerable a notion of my state as it is possible for a good man to have."
The advantages that are the natural results for obeying to our law in treating desperate cases have been so fully brought out in the letters we have read that it only remains for us briefly to recapitulate them. Prominent will be the reduction of the number of so-called incurable diseases. Dr. Benjamin Rush, a prominent physician of the old school, has given out this great truth, "To pronounce a disease incurable is often to render it so."
Pure homeopathy never assumes a case incurable, and until the proper remedy is seen to possess only palliative powers such case will be found a curable one. At the present time there is a case of diabetes (usually called incurable) in this city, progressing to complete recovery by the use of the indicated remedy only.
To lessen the number of people addicted to the opium habit, the chloral habit or the new cocaine habit will by the thoughtful be considered a gain to humanity. An advantage accrues to the physician by this method, in the confidence which enables him to treat the most painful disease with the same care he gives painless ones, knowing he runs no risk of cursing his patient with a habit that often proves worse than the original disease.
In conclusion, we would like to impress the meaning of the old maxim, "There is no royal road to success." The results of homeopathy can only be obtained by hard, persistent work. To the laity we say—lay aside your fears of suffering. The leading men in homeopathy today are, and have been for years, practicing in accordance with the discoveries of Hahnemann, and praising God for their powers to help suffering humanity even unto death—
"Sustained and soothed
By 'an unalterable law, (thou shall)' approach thy grave.
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch.
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams."
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