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have had much experience; and this is also demonstrated by the large number of patients who, after a more or less prolonged course of treatment, have become discouraged and given up in despair, or gone from one physician to another, hoping thereby to find the desired relief.
As the successor of Dr. J. H. Woodbury, one of the most successful and popular gynecologists ever known to Boston, it has been my privilege to treat quite a large number of cases of this disease during the past few months, and I now simply offer some of the fruits of my experience in their treatment.
From the history of the cases presented to me, I learn that the harsh, heroic treatment of the old school, and the unaided use of the symptomatically indicated remedies, are about equally unsuccessful. Of twenty-three cases, nine had been previously treated by allopaths, and "the last state was worse than the first"; ten had taken medicine for longer or shorter periods, as prescribed by good homoeopathic physicians, and their last state was generally about the same as at the beginning of treatment. I would not deny that, by either method, some cases are successfully treated and cured, but many more are not. I sincerely wish that we might attain to success by the simple use of internal remedies. It would be a much easier and more pleasant method, both for the physician and for his patients; but results will not warrant us in depending upon them alone. A large proportion of the cases reported cured in this way have been treated without a physical examination (by which means alone the actual condition of the diseased parts can be learned), either before or after the treatment. The diagnosis was therefore imperfect and unreliable; and furthermore, the mere cessation, for a time, of leucorrhoeal discharge, which is generally, in these cases, taken as evidence of a cure, is by no means enough to justify such a claim. I am confident that much can be accomplished with homœopathic remedies, but by combining with these judicious local treatment, much surer and more satisfactory results may be attained. The use of vaginal injections, so often recommended, is of very little use, because the seat of the disease, viz., the cervical canal, is not reached; only the vaginal portion of the cervix at most is bathed and cleansed in this way. And as to the injection of any liquid into the canal, I cannot but feel that it is
an inferior method of treatment, because, first, it is attended with more or less danger of forcing the fluid into the uterine cavity, which often causes very serious trouble; and second, its effects are very transitory at best.
Even for the purpose of cleansing the canal by removing the tenacious mucous secretion which characterizes this disease, I have found a bit of absorbent cotton, carefully wound upon a flexible rubber sound, far preferable, on account of greater safety, as well as more rapid and thorough accomplishment of the object.
In applying medicinal substances to the cervical canal, it is of course desirable that they be in such form as to remain in contact with the diseased surface. Liquids can so remain only as long as you are applying them. Somewhat more may be accomplished by saturating a ribbon of cloth or a piece of cotton-wool, and leaving this in the canal. But after considerable experiment, I believe I have succeeded in finding a much better means of applying medicinal substances than any I had before tried or known. Otis Clapp & Son have made to my order, suppositories of cocoa-butter, medicated with Hydrastin, Iodoform, or any other desired agent, and in any desired amount. Instead of the ordinary-bullet shape I have them made to fit the cervical canal; i. e., an inch and a quarter in length and one quarter of an inch in diameter. These I cover with a film of cotton, to which a thread is attached to insure its easy removal. The canal being well cleansed and dried as above described, the suppository so prepared, if pressed into the cervix and firmly held for a few seconds, will set and remain in place, while without the cotton, it will slip from its place as it begins to melt. By this means I secure the direct contact of the medicine with the diseased surface for a considerable time, as the saturated cotton generally remains in the canal after the suppository has entirely melted. In milder cases, without ulceration or granular degeneration, I have found nothing equal to the solid paraffine soap, used in the same way.
If this method of making applications to the cervical canal has been in use by others, I shall hope to learn of their experience. To those who have not tried it I would commend the method, as it has afforded me much greater satisfaction than any other means I have tried.
VERTIGO. — RHUS TOX.
BY J. MARTINE KERSHAW, M. D., ST. LOUIS.
MRS. S consulted me some time since in regard to a peculiar and very distressing vertigo with which she was afflicted. She had been confined some months before, but in consequence of a great deal of anxiety had never entirely recovered her health. The flow which naturally followed the labor never entirely ceased, and at times amounted to a severe hemorrhage. As a result of this constant drain she became very anæmic, ate little, and was sleepless. Vertigo of a peculiar character developed at this time, and was a pronounced and constant symptom. Whenever lying or sitting quietly, vertigo of an extreme character became mani fest, which only passed away on rising and walking for a few moments. While she continued to walk or exercise, no dizziness was experienced; but as soon as she became quiet again, the vertigo returned. During all this time the hemorrhage, as already remarked, continued. The prominence of the key-note of Rhus tox.-relief on motion caused me to give the remedy mentioned. I prescribed the third dilution, two teaspoonfuls every one half hour for five times; then every two hours. In twentyfour hours the flow had ceased, and likewise the vertigo, nor has it returned to this day. I had forgotten to say that on the recommendation of a friend the patient had taken China 3 for several weeks before coming to me, but without effect. I deem this a cure made in strict accordance with the homoeopathic law of similia. The patient's mode of living was not changed, nor was any palliative measure employed. She received but the remedy mentioned and nothing else. Now, although I believe that patients of this class should be built up by means of stimulants and good food, I do not believe that any remedy or means but the one used could have brought about so satisfactory and permanent a result in so short a time as that in the case just recorded.
THE NEW ENGLAND MEDICAL GAZETTE.
BOSTON, DECEMBER, 1879.
WITH this number ends the first year of the GAZETTE under its present management. We desire to return thanks to those who have kindly assisted us in filling its pages with such good material. That their efforts have been appreciated has been testified to by the many friendly assurances which have come to our ears and by a trebled subscription list. Nevertheless, for the ensuing year both editor and publishers are determined to make still greater efforts to improve the character of their journal. To this end, on the one hand, although the price will remain at the same low figure, the number of pages will be increased one third, a much better quality of paper will be used, and the size of type will be uniform throughout (with the possible exception of a page or two at the very end); and on the other hand, many able writers from all parts of the country have promised to aid us, and others, we trust, will voluntarily contribute without putting us to the trouble to ask them individually. Therefore we have a bright outlook.
One word as to the character of our material. We notice that some journals often contain long disquisitions, made up entirely of compilations from common works on anatomy, physiology, theory and practice, etc. Such material we feel obliged to decline in advance. We do not intend to make the GAZETTE a substitute for text-books, which every respectable physician (and who else would subscribe for the GAZETTE?) is supposed to have in his library. Again, we must confess that we ourselves do not take much stock in reports of wonderful cures in isolated cases. If you have had a series of successful cases under any particular treatment, by all means send them in and give the profession the benefit of them, as you are expected to do, because you belong to a noble profession and not to a trades-union. Likewise, if you are called upon to treat one case only of a disease which is so rare that neither you yourself nor your colleagues are apt to have much experience in it, write it out carefully and send it in for publication, that the series already spoken of, from which we are to draw conclusions, may be finally made up from the combined experience of many. But do not, as the manner of some is, when one patient has got well (been cured?) rather more quickly than usual, after taking a certain medicine, feel so much gratified with your success as to try to make
others believe that you have done a great thing. You may gain a temporary notoriety, but after others have been gulled into following your recipe and have failed, you will either be consigned to oblivion or else objurgated. You simply made a lucky hit. A year ago we ourselves made a lucky hit. A great-aunt, seventy-seven years old, had for forty years carried on the top of her head a large wen about the size of a hen's egg, which she did not consider particularly ornamental; still she had always objected, in spite of much urging, to its removal by the knife, and expected to carry it to the grave. Last winter a scaly eruption appeared all over the scalp, including the wen, for which we prescribed graphites internally and vaseline externally. In a few weeks not only had the eruption disappeared, but the wen also. We were more than pleased. For a moment we felt like another Columbus. We had discovered something. How pleasant it is, how self-satisfying, to feel that you are a benefactor to the human race! Our complacent first impulse was to rush into print and publish it to the world, and then ask, Reader, have you a wen? Try graphites and vaseline, and it will go. But a little reflection convinced us that if our readers' wens did not disappear as our patient's had, we should become a laughing stock, and, therefore, before we ask this question, we intend to try vaseline and graphites, singly or combined, on at least half a dozen other wens and watch the result.
WE desire to call the attention of the physicians in New England to the fact that Messrs. Otis Clapp & Son will publish on the first of January next a new and corrected catalogue of homeopathic physicians in New England, a copy of which they intend to present gratis to each one whose address they can secure. They will soon send out postal cards requesting information. We hope that all will respond, as of course it is for the universal good that such a directory should be reliable.
THE LATE DR. HEMPEL.
[We very willingly give place to the following brief account of the life and services of Dr. Hempel, written and very kindly sent to us by his able assistant, Dr. H. R. Arndt, of Grand Rapids, Mich. It gives a slight insight into a life of wonderful activity in the cause which he had so much at heart, and ought to stimulate some of us lazy ones to greater effort. He lived to see the third edition of his greatest work, his "Materia Medica," successfully going through the press. Edited, with many additions and alterations by Dr. Arndt, it will shortly appear.]
CHARLES J. HEMPEL was born in Solingen, near Cologne, Prussia, on Sept. 5, 1811. After having mastered the collegiate course of his