Clinical Cases

Three cases of Diphtheria

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Three cases of Diphtheria from the journal Medical Visitor, 1895.

Excerpted from The Medical Visitor Vol. XI, 1895, Ed: Temple S. Hoyne, M. D

A Case of Diphtheria  in a Young Man

A. L. Fisher, M.D.

William , a strong young man of eighteen, generally in excellent health, was taken ill with poorly-defined, all over bad feelings, in which bone pains or dull aching predominated. Within a few hours fever and sore throat developed, and after

twenty-four hours from onset of attack I found him with the following symptoms: upper frontal, throbbing headache, throat sore, worse on left side where it began, but for a few hours soreness is increasing on right side; dirty gray deposit covering

half of left tonsil. Swallowing is painful, and suffering about the same from solids, liquids, or empty deglutition. Breath very foul, limbs and back ache, which compels frequent change of position as under Rhus tox. External neck over-sensitve to pressure; has unfastened the upper button of night-shirt .Very weak, prostration out of proportion to severity of other symptoms. Gave Lachesis 200 in solution every two hours. Thirty hours later finds him no better except that general aching is better. Did not sleep much the last night. Left tonsil swollen and red, the right one covered with pearly white spots, averaging one-eighth of an inch in diameter, now discrete but rapidly coalescing. Neck still sensitive to touch; urine scanty and of very high color. Lac. Caninum, Im, one dose in water and placebo every two hours.

This was at 4 o’clock p. m. Next day at 10 a. m. found throat clean, breath sweet; wants to sit up but is too weak. ‘Appetite returning and but little pain on swallowing; temperature 99. Convalescence was rapid and complete.

Lachesis has never benefited diphtheria (Homeopathy Treatment for Diphtheria), in my hands, when the membrane was of a pearly white appearance, while Lac. can. always does. The two remedies are similar otherwise.


A Case of Diphtheria in a Fifteen Year Old Girl

T. G. Roberts, M.D., Lecturer, Hering Medical College.


Miss G., fifteen years of age, was taken with diphtheria, beginning on the left side. The throat was very sensitive to external pressure, and, in general, the subjective symptoms were much more severe than the objective. The breath was so fetid that it was very unpleasant to be in the same room with her. There was much hawking and spitting, which did not materially relieve the distress in the throat. She was worse after waking from sleep. The urine was dark, scanty, and strong-smelling. The deposit in the throat spread rapidly from left to right, and, in many ways, the patient gave evidence of being very sick.

I had almost no hope of her recovery under ordinary treatment, so I determined to discard all topical application and trust to pure homoeopathy. I had been experimenting with high potencies, and was beginning to get out of the darkness of mongrelism into the light of the true science of therapeutics. With considerable trepidation, I gave this patient one dose of Lachesis, 50m., and anxiously watched the results. Of course I gave the necessary placebo.

The next morning I had the satisfaction of finding her better. The throat was not so sensitive internally or externally; swallowing was not so painful, and she was not aggravated by sleep. After two days steady improvement, she did not seem quite so well, and the symptoms still pointing to Lachesis, I gave one dose of the cm. She made a satisfactory recovery without more medicine, and no sequel of the disease was left behind. I have since found that one dose of the simillimum in the cm. potency is usually sufficient to cure a case. Local treatment is worse than useless.



A Case of Diphtheria in a Boy of Two Years

S. Mills Fowler, M.D.

Professor of Clinical Medicine, Hering Medical College.


I report the following case, which, by the way, is the only case of the disease which I have seen for ten or more years. Marcelle K., a boy of two years; light complexion and hair with dark eyes, has always been healthy, fat and well, never sick a day in his life. I was called about 8 a. m. March 21, 1894. He had been sick for some days with sore throat and fever. He lay in a sort of stupor, rather difficult to rouse, face dark red, having a bluish hue, swollen at the neck and under the jaws, showing that the cervical glands were much involved. The pulse was

small, quick, weak, about 150 per minute, and the skin hot and clammy. His eyes were nearly closed, and the head thrown well back and mouth open with a watery saliva flowing out over the pillow. A thin excoriating discharge from the nose which was irritating, had made the upper lip around the nasal openings quite raw. His breathing was labored and wheezing, with a rattling in the throat, showing that the tissues were so infiltrated that it was difficult to get air through the laryngio-pharyngeal opening. The tonsils were immensely swollen, as were all of the tissues about the base of the tongue and down into the pharynx as far as it was possible to see. The face and extremities showed a marked degree of cyanosis. The mucous lining of the throat was of a dark purplish red color, and nearly covered with a grayish white membrane. The breath had the characteristic odor of the disease. The membrane as well as the swelling was worst on the left side, and I learned that the disease began on the left side and spread to the right. He would not tolerate anything around the Heck, and when they applied a compress or anything to the throat, he would fret and worry till it was removed. He was in a sort of dozing slumber much of the time, and if he slept for a few minutes he would seem to be worse after it; or he would sleep and the breathing would become more and more labored till it seemed that he could breathe no longer, then he would rouse up with a start and jump and be worse for some minutes.

They are so many characteristics of the remedy that it seems almost as if they had been copied from the characteristics in the Materia Medica. Lachesis cm. was given, one dose, and watched for an hour. At the end of this time it was thought that there was some modification of the symptoms, but just exactly what it was, it would be difficult to tell.

Another dose of the same was left to be given if the conditions seemed to demand it, and the conditions which would require its repetition were explained. At 8 p. M. the case was seen again. The second dose had been given for good reasons and with good effect. Although there had been a tendency to relapse during the day, for which the second dose had been given, yet the patient was no worse than in the morning, which, in view of the natural tendency of the disease to aggravation towards evening, was regarded as a favorable indication. The false membrane in the throat did not seem so thick, and the color of the lining mucous membrane of a brighter hue. The breathing and the pulse was about the same as in the morning, and the perspiration was more abundant and not so clammy. Lachesis mm. was left to be given if needed.

March 22, 9:30 A. m. During the night there had been a relapse tendency, and the Lachesis mm. had been given with good results. This morning there seemed to be some improvement in some respects, but the outlook on the whole was bad. The face was of a dusky red color that I have learned to look upon with apprehension in any sickness. There was a puffy besotted look that was not encouraging to say the least. It now seemed that the Lachesis had done all that it could, for, in spite of it, there was that tendency to fatal relapse. Yet there were no indications for any other remedy. Sul. and Psorinum and other anti-psorics were thought of, but there had been no history of psora or other miasms, and nothing on which to base a prescription other than the one already employed. In this extremity we selected and gave a nosode, viz., Diphtherinum. cmm. (Swan), one dose dry.

March 22, 8 p. m. Pulse 130, and a marked improvement in every respect.

March 23, a. m. Improving nicely. Pulse 130, regular, and the false membrane nearly all gone from the throat. A thick, yellowish mucous has taken the place of the excoriating watery discharges from the nose, etc.

9 p. M. Pulse 120. and a decided improvement in every way.

March 24, a. m. Patient discharged as convalescent, and finally made a perfect recovery.

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