James B. Bell, M. D., Boston, Mass.
From: Proceedings of the International Hahnemannian Association (1897)
I would like to present a few cases to illustrate the action of the Homoeopathic remedy in desperate surgical cases. Our hospital cases are so many that we have to divide the work somewhat. My very efficient assistant, Dr. Wm. F. Wesselhoeft, takes the larger number of the minor cases. I usually see and know about them all, but am not always present when they are operated upon.
In our hospital under my service we use Homoeopathic remedies in every case where they are indicated, whether operative or otherwise. I want to mention three cases where the remedy was used.
Case I – The first case is that of a young married woman who had had one child, and had recently had a miscarriage. Since then she had had continuous flowing, and came into the hospital for relief. She was under the care of Dr. Wesselhoeft. I did not see her at that time. The uterus was explored with every aseptic precaution to see if there were any debris remaining, and if so, to remove it. He found the uterus still open with a good drainage, but there was the flowing going on. He explored the uterus with a curette, but found nothing. He reported to me the next morning that she had a high temperature that night, which indicated a danger of inflammation. He was somewhat anxious about her and, as she had much pain in the abdomen with decided tenderness, he gave her Belladonna. I did not see her that morning, but the same evening I visited the hospital. She had a temperature of 104, a very tender abdomen, a great deal of thirst, severe pain in the head which was relieved by cold compresses. The pains in the abdomen were better lying on the back, and worse turning over on the side, or on motion. I gave her Bryonia the 200th potency; this was on the third day. These were indications of a peritonitis that might have been fatal; there was immediate recovery after the Bryonia 200th.
Case II – This was an emergency case, a woman 35 years of age had a slight injury of the hand, I don’t know the exact nature. Suppuration took place and her physician had opened it in two places. In spite of that she went on to a very active septic condition, a very dangerous one. On the fourth day they brought her to the hospital. She was anaesthetized and the arm thoroughly explored by Dr. Wesselhceft. The arm was very much swollen. He found underneath the muscles, way up in the forearm, gatherings of pus, which were cleaned out thoroughly. That night her temperature was 104. She was in a thoroughly dazed, unconscious condition. She remained two or three days in that condition, and did not come out after removing the pus as we supposed she would. On examinations of the secretions it was found that she had a Streptococcic blood poisoning. I will remark that there are two distinct kinds of blood poisoning, the Streptococcic and the Staphylococcic, the diagnosis being made upon the fact that those designated microbes are found in those cases. I believe the poison is somehow associated with them, and the diagnosis can be made upon the finding of the microbe.
The Strepococcic is the most fatal kind of blood poisoning and it affects the whole system very extremely. This woman seemed to be in the condition of one very deeply poisoned. She was not responsive to any questions, looked at you in a vague, staring way, and passed urine in bed involuntarily. She looked at you and tried to respond and then relapsed into this condition. I gave her Hyoscyamus cm without effect. We waited, I think, 36 hours; her temperature remained very high, I think 104 or 105, and it seemed as though the case was surely fatal. Then, upon two indications only, that of this obtundity of the senses, confusion and obscuration of perception, with somewhat of a bloated, sodden looking face – that indication and its relation to septic infections – I gave her Baptisia cm in water every two hours. In the morning, for the first time in the week, the temperature was down much lower; the pulse also down, and the case looked very encouraging. She went on to convalescence, and when I left a few days ago, there was no question of her entire recovery. I believe that was a direct deliverance, from the effect of the homoeopathic remedy upon an otherwise fatal condition.
Dr. Campbell : Was there any medicine given when Dr. Wesselhoeft made the opening?
Dr. Bell : No; he waited to see the effect of the opening. I omitted to state that I gave her Pyrogen the second day; the third day Hyoscyamus and the fifth day Baptisia.
Case III – Another case was that of a little boy, ten years of age, who came to the hospital with empyema. The right chest was full of pus, and the child looked the picture of approaching death; having a deathly pallor, extreme emaciation, and septic temperatures. Six weeks before he had had scarlatina. He also had rapidly advancing, acute Bright’s disease. Certainly the prognosis in this case was of the worst, and I so told the parents that we would do what we could.
I dissected the eighth rib and removed large amounts of pus from the chest. The next day after recovering from the ether, I gave him Pyrogen, on the two indications onlyâ€”of a septic condition, and the well known fact that Pyrogen has a remarkable influence over certain forms of Bright’s disease. Again, a remarkable improvement. He soon began to eat, and in eight weeks was discharged perfectly cured. The remedy and the mechanical means went hand in hand.
I give these three cases as examples of what can be done and is being done by Hahnemannian surgery, and to correct any misapprehension that may have arisen that I advocate operations to the exclusion of remedies, and thereby advocate a departure from homoeopathic prescribing where it can be done. When we come to the place where we are compelled to use mechanical means, we must look upon them with just as much respect as we do upon the homoeopathic remedy.