Clinical Cases

Two Cases of Inflammations in the Head

Two more cases from homeopathic archives.

Case I

A boy, about three years of age, had to all appearance gotten over the scarlet fever of a mild character happily, when, suddenly and before the desquamation was completed, the glands of the neck and about the ears began to enlarge, and symptoms of a dangerous affection of the brain supervened. The child lay in a lethargic state, speechless, with its face puffed and inflamed, the breathing short and jerking, whilst the feces and urine were discharged involuntarily ; the feces were watery and offensive, and the urine of a deep red colour. The loss of speech, however, was the less remarkable, as upon examination the whole interior of the mouth was found to be in a highly inflamed state. How unfavourable the prognosis under such circumstances necessarily is, must be evident to every practitioner : and patients in scarlet fever have thousands of times been lost under symptoms of a less formidable nature. Dr. Gross looked upon the case as hopeless, though he hastened to prescribe the specific for this form of disease, and ordered four globules of the thirtieth dilution of Belladonna every four hours.

During the first twelve hours the effects of the medicine were not very apparent : the next day, however, they were not to be mistaken, and the dose was in consequence exhibited every six hours only. After twenty doses had been taken the patient was evidently more collected ; he still slept a great deal, it is true, but he could be aroused, and the excrements were no longer passed involuntarily and were more natural in character. The mouth, too, was desquamating, and the glands of the neck and ears were almost normal in size.

After the disposition to sopor had been overcome by a couple of doses of Antimonium tart. 12, two doses more of Belladonna restored the patient to a state of reconvalescence.

CASE II

F. S., a girl, born of healthy parents, had enjoyed till nearly three months old, when she was vaccinated, the most perfect health. The cow-pox ran its course favourably, but after a time the infant began to fall off both in firmness and flesh , the nights were restless, and the disposition to take the breast less and less every day. The middle incisors, which appeared in the ninth month, were black, and the joints of the hands and feet began to enlarge. With the exception of acorn coffee, and a narrow strip of mercurial plaster applied about the neck, nothing had hitherto been done, and the plaster was removed as soon as the enlargement of the joints was perceived. About the beginning of the second year, to the continually increasing weakness was added intolerance of light, contraction of the pupils, redness of the eyes, burning heat and dryness of the skin, great thirst, constipation, frightful dreams and restlessness, the sleep being frequently interrupted by loud screaming, besides a variety of other symptoms from which Doctors Segin and Arnold conceived inflammation of the brain to be established. Leeches to the temples and a few grains of calomel sufficed to cut short this attack; but the symptoms of general indisposition were increased in a greater degree than ever, and no longer a period than six weeks elapsed before a new invasion of the cerebral affection declared itself, and the same thing occurred for the third time four weeks later : the same remedial means being had recourse to on each occasion, were found adequate to overcome the threatened mischief; still, with each new attack less and less hope could be entertained of conducting the case to a fortunate issue, and there was every reason to presume that the next attack would prove fatal.

This seemed to require some change of treatment in the event of another attack, which was accordingly resolved upon. Besides the symptoms already enumerated there were now superadded opacity of the cornea in points, and the patient when sitting let the head fall backwards; when lying she forced it deeply into the pillow and her fingers were constantly in her mouth and nose ; at this time the abdomen began to swell, whilst all other parts shrunk more and more. Four weeks now elapsed without any new attack of the cerebral affection, but on this occasion it was ushered in with more marked febrile symptoms than usual. The homoeopathic method being now adopted, a small portion of a drop of the third dilution of Belladonna was prescribed. On the following day there was a marked improvement ; a few days afterwards a humid tetter broke out upon the head : the child could now also be put into the tepid bath, which had frequently been attempted before, but which owing to the alarm caused by it, could never be effected, A dose of sp. vini sulphuris 3 was next given, after which the patient began to make use of her legs, which were very small and crooked, and convalescence proceeded gradually. For the three years which have passed since this case occurred, there has been no relapse ; and even the rose-rash and measles which the child took in the course of the last summer one after the other, did not seem in any way to implicate the general health, so that now in her fifth year she is the picture of confirmed good health.

From : A Practical View of Homoeopathy, Being An Address To British Practitioners On The General Applicability And Superior Efficacy of The Homoeopathic Method In The Treatment Of Disease. 1836

About the author

Stephen Simpson

Stephen Simpson, M.D. was resident practitioner at Rome, circa 1836.

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