Clinical Cases

A Case of Marasmus

Another case from the homeopathic archives.

Excerpted from: The Hahnemannian Advocate –Chicago – March 1902 –Editor H. W. Pierson M.D.

In the early part of last year, 1901, a lady called at my office to consult me about her baby, then four months old. This lady was well built, apparently well nourished, and to all appearance, a well educated lady. The family had recently moved into this state from Wisconsin, from whence they had brought a very feeble baby.

She told the story of an apparently healthy pregnancy, no serious trouble during parturition, the birth of a healthy child weighing seven pounds, a rapid convalescence, and the withering of the baby when it was but two weeks of age. She seemed to have an abundance of milk, but as the child began to emaciate so rapidly, ceased nursing and gave him cows’ milk with some prepared food. Still the child continued to emaciate until it was nothing but skin and bone, very pale, almost blue from want of sufficient oxygen, almost helpless, and lay in one and the same position until changed by the mother or one of the family. At times it would make an effort to cry but its noise was so feeble that it was scarcely audible.

I examined this babe with more than ordinary care. It did not have that aged appearance that so many cases of marasmus present. It was very poor, so poor in flesh that one hesitated to handle the little fellow. Its face was not wrinkled, nor were the arms or legs, and the abdomen was slightly enlarged but not tympanitic.

I looked for a cause but found none. There seemed to be no disease present in this little one save progressive emaciation. The anemnesis presented nothing unusual, save in this one particular that this little boy, the youngest of six children, was the only one so sadly afflicted, the other children being strong and in good health.

There was little to encourage the mother, for the prognosis was a very unfavorable one. Some medicine seemed necessary, and the remedy that appeared to cover this case was Argentum nit. which it received, one dose of the 200 potency, and a liberal Placebo, with instructions to report in seven days if the child was alive.

The mother felt dejected, but could expect nothing but an unfavorable prognosis. At the appointed time she came and reported really no improvement. Again efforts were made to obtain the mode of living during gestation, when the mother said that nothing unusual occurred in habits of life or appetite save an inordinate craving for salt, great quantities of which she ate at different times. “Doctor,” said she, “I seldom went to the pantry without taking a great pinch of salt.” This gave me a foundation upon which to build a diagnosis, outline a course of treatment, and assure myself of a more favorable prognosis. A Natrum muriatricum toxemia resulting in marasmus. I gave two powders of Natrum mur 30 trit, each powder to be dissolved in three teaspoonfuls of clear cold water, and a teaspoonful given each hour until all was taken, and repeat the following day. This was followed the third day with a liberal Placebo.

In a few days I was called by telephone to see the child, as it was not expected to live. I drove through a drenching cold rain to find one of the most pitiable sights I had ever seen. A babe in which there was but a picture of life, cold, very pale, involuntary evacuation of the bowels of a slightly diarrhoeic stool, yellow in color, and not of a strong odor. He was too weak to take much nourishment, and when one opened his eyes he could not close them, nor could he of his own strength close them when they were opened. He was carried on a pillow, was too weak to cry and as they placed him, so he laid.

I saw at once we had one of two things before us, either a proving of Natrum mur. or impending dissolution. I said nothing favorable but chose the former view of the case, gave Placebo, and asked for a report by telephone the following day. The report came, “the child is better, diarrhoea slowly improving, slept better, and has an increased appetite.” Placebo continued. I made no further calls. The child began to improve, and the former Placebo, globules No. 30 were continued, two globules every three hours. This lasted for some weeks when the mother reported in person that the child was growing, slowly ’tis true, but growing and increasing in weight. No more medicine was given until last September, until another powder of Nat mur was given as before with no perceptible aggravation, but constant improvement and the child now almost one year since I saw him, is doing well and has a fair show for a long and healthy career.

About the author

G.E. Dienst

G.E. Dienst MD– Homeopath Circa early 1900’s. Author of What to Do for the Stomach and also What to Do for the Head.

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