Translated by Katja Schütt and Alan Schmukler
I managed a clinic focusing in particular on the medical treatment of children with Down Syndrome at the Children’s Clinic of the St. Vincenz Hospital in Paderborn. During my long standing occupation as pediatrician, I examined and treated more than 1200 children in a period of 23 years. During the first years, my practice was limited to diagnostic measures and consulting with parents regarding continuing examinations and therapies.
With increasing experience with these patients, I learned that in newborns and during the years of infancy, severe organ-specific complications often come to the fore (eg. congenital cardiac defects, deformities of the gastrointestinal tract). I also saw that the everyday lives of these and older children, are characterized by less life threatening diseases, but which nevertheless determine the quality of their lives. For example:
Failure to thrive
Recurrent infections of the upper respiratory tract
Autism and emotional and neurotic ailments
The history of these patients was often characterized by unsuccessful attempts at treatment using conventional medicine, especially with regard to the prevention and cure of chronic, recurrent health problems. In search of alternative treatment methods I came across (more by chance) homeopathy, a healing method of which I only knew the name until that time. Trained in conventional medicine I couldn’t do anything with their theoretical frame in the beginning, but did not want to denounce what I had not tried by myself. Since my first “successes” (now more than 15 years ago) I’m fascinated by homeopathy, and can effectively combine conventional medicine and homeopathy in my daily clinical practice.
During the study of homeopathy, the special importance of psychosocial and biographic contexts in the development of “disease”, became clear to me.
This was especially pertinent for people with an alleged “genetically fixed” behavioral pattern, which seemed to call into question compromises between systemic control and individual autonomy. However, socio-cultural and biologic reality are interwoven in all humans.
Here I relate some case studies about daily problems of children with Down Syndrome, which were treated homeopathically:
F.R. was a two month old nursling who drank pumped breast milk satisfactorily from the bottle, but did not want to drink from the breast. Apart from a congenital cardiac defect (hemodynamically not active/effective/efficient atrial septal defect) he did not have any further health problems. As it was desirable to let him drink directly from the breast (inter alia as an excellent oral-motor training for children with Down Syndrome), there should be made an attempt to “motivate him to drink from the breast” with homeopathic treatment. He was a well-fed nursling, with pronounced hypotone tonicity and a large anterior fontanelle which perspired profusely when he fall asleep. The habitus was typical for Calcium carbonicum. The following rubric was used to find the indicated remedy:
Chest, milk, child refuses mother’s milk
Calcium carbonicum 200C was given. After one week F.R. nursed from the breast so that there was no need to pump breast milk anymore. After this medication he thrived and could be breast fed for another four months.
M.K. was a four month old nursling who suffered from recurrent obstructive bronchitis with the following modalities:
> open air
> after drinking
< at night (irritative cough since 2 a.m., which wakens him up with panic attacks)
< lying on abdomen
Since the second month of his life, permanent obstructive problems!
Pregnancy: The fetus was evaluated sonographically as being too small. As a result the mother suffered from depression and anxiety.
Birth: spontaneous, birth weight 3100 g!!
Medication: Arsenicum album 30C. Rapid and clear amelioration after the application of the remedy. The previously performed inhalations with Salbutamol and Cortisone could be reduced and then stopped entirely shortly thereafter. For the first time since the beginning of the obstruction, the lungs were free. There were no further respiratory problems in the further course.
W.W., 10 month old nursling. “The birth was terrible” according to the mother’s account. A difficult expulsion period and the suction cup ruptured. Postpartum he had a severe RS-Virus infection. Noisy respiration with inspirative stridor since the second day of life. Bronchoscopic findings during the first weeks of life revealed: bilateral vocal chords paralysis with subsequent tracheotomy !
Neurological conspicuous: slight spastic with ophistotonic posture. BNS-Epilepsy. Severe constipation with anal fissures. Moderate hearing loss with bilateral tympanic effusion so that a hearing device was prescribed. Recurrent respiratory infections with bronchitis and pneumonia. Profuse ear wax production.
Medication: Causticum 200C.
Clear and rapid clinical amelioration during the course of the next eight month. Causticum 200C was repeated twice. Afterwards W. was fine, very, very well! He does not have any convulsions anymore, the tracheostoma could be closed. Now he is a true discoverer and in a good mood!” No severe infections anymore and no hearing device.
What suffering he could have avoided, had he had gotten Causticum during the first days/month of his life and not only at the age of 10 months !
This boy, H.J., was seen at 18 months because of chronic constipation, which he suffered from since the first weeks of his life. After birth he was treated as an inpatient in the children’s clinic due to an ammonia infection syndrome with meconium aspiration. During this time the glass clinical thermometer broke in the rectum of the child when taking the rectal temperature, leading to bloody stools with violent screaming attacks afterwards. And no spontaneous evacuations were possible anymore afterwards. Since then H. was screaming during each attempt to evacuate, stool appeared but receded again. After further attempts an initially hard stool was evacuated and later stools had soft consistency. Dietetic – medicinal as well as manipulative stretching measures could not produce any relief. Diagnostic findings and the further anamnesis could not evaluate peculiar or special symptoms, so that the following rubrics were used for repertorization:
Tenesmus during stool
Difficult stool with soft stool
Difficult stool, stool recedes
Constipation after nervous tension or psychic shock
In the evaluation of symptoms special attention was paid to the causative event of the painful “psychic shock situation” which preceded constipation.
Magnesium carbonicum 30C was administered.
After the application of the remedy H. was complaint free for three weeks and has not had any difficulties during stool since that time.
M.N. was brought in by her parents at the age of 3 ¼ years because of increasing restlessness and aggressiveness. She could hardly sit still and was unable to employ herself for a longer period. She was unsteady and commenced a lot of tasks but did not finish them. No object in her environment remained in its place, as she had the urge to touch, turn or test everything. Being hectic she was not deterred by words or change of location. Often she destroyed toys, vases, furniture or pictures on the wall. She would strike other children unknowingly, but also knowingly at times. When angry, she hits her head against the floor, edge of the bed or other objects. Further symptoms:
Desire for meat and salty food
Increased perspiration on the head at night
Fear of loud noises
Teeth grinding at night
Based on these ailments and rubrics, Tuberculinum 200C was prescribed in a single dose. After 2 1/2 months her parents reported that she was calmer and less aggressive, her temper tantrums became rare and hitting of the head was not observed anymore. In the course of the next nine months Tuberculinum 200C was repeated once, when symptoms reappeared. After treatment she appeared to be “a different person” and different in relating to her environment. She has had no any further ailments or problems since she started kindergarten.
M.K., a 7 year old boy, who as a nursling, entered the family as a foster child.
Teeth grinding < by day
Recurrent infections of the respiratory tract
Desire: bratwurst, sweets, ice
Aversion: cheese, bananas
Encopresis and Enuresis diurna et nocturna
Thermal state: hot
Sleep. Wakes up frequently; < 2 – 2.30 a.m.; hits the head against the bed rails; sleep position on abdomen
Fear: high places, animals
Mind: autistic traits ( stereotype movements, talking with himself, avoids contact, does not want to be touched by other children)
Pregnancy: preterm delivery 33 + 3 weeks of pregnancy
Birth: spontaneous, birth weight 2340 g
No details about family history
Medication: Carcinosinum C 200.
After six weeks: sleeps through the night; no hitting of head anymore, no teeth grinding and he is more sociable. In the course of the next two years Carcinosinum 200C was repeated twice which stabilized his situation.
For this case I want to start with a quotation from Till Bastian, which has motivated me to consider special situations during pregnancy in this case, and during subsequent case anamneses:
” Enforced medical diagnosis as it is the case in genetic tests in pregnant women – be it only by the pressure of “convincing arguments” – can change the emotional relationship between mother and child in reality. This is clearly a real but not measurable side effect of the medicinal procedure, which has to be balanced against the assumed advantages of the physician – any other course of action would be a clear violation of principles of medical ethics.
It is unimportant whether the attitude of the pregnant mother is “rational” or “irrational” (although we should always avoid premature depreciation’s) – the crux of the matter is, that the possible outcome of such “insensitive diagnoses” are real in every case. Feelings, attitudes, valuations, religious beliefs etc. are without doubt as real as laboratory values and statistically evaluated data. It is obvious that this is an important problem in prenatal diagnosis of chromosome abnormalities. The danger is that such diagnoses, combined with the respective, never value-free and merely objective medical concomitant information, often induces the denegation of a child suffering from Down Syndrome. In the style of Werner Heisenberg’s famous theorem, one could speak of a kind of social uncertainty principle: Each observation of the system – and also every diagnostic measure – is an interference into the system which disturbs it – with possible unpredictable aftereffects”.