EUTHANASIA

Read before the Bureau of Clinical Medicine, I.H.A., July 23, 1954.

 

DONALD G. GLADISH, M.D. Ever since reading Kents paper on Euthanasia many, many years ago I have been intrigued with the idea of aiding the hopelessly sick to depart this world easily and painlessly. This case seemed fitting but the euthanasia attained was only partial and temporary.

Mrs. R. came to me in January complaining of daily severe headaches and high blood pressure. The high blood pressure she had had for 20 years. She had been subject to migraine headaches ever since she was seventeen; now she is 63. She had gone to a homoeopath because she was upset by large doses of medicine–any medicine.

She had had much illness and many operations, namely appendectomy, hysterectomy, T & A, and haemorrhoidectomy. Blood pressure was 230/140.

Since she was worse from fats, worse in hot weather, better in cold yet chilly in bed, and thirstless I gave her Pulsatilla 200.

A week later she reported no headaches, no change in blood pressure, but an itching eruption of the vulva. This eruption cleared up shortly. Two months later her headaches returned in spite of Pulsatilla 1M.

She had Aurum 200. and did well for one month when she developed cardiac asthma which made her sit up and gasp for air. Blood pressure 250/170. Neither Aurum nor Arsenicum helped, but after Lachesis 1M she was much improved, slept well and soundly after 2 a.m. A few days later, the symptoms recurred and were not affected by Lachesis 10 M. After a restless, sleepless, panting night and day she was given Tarentula cubensis 60x. And then she slept soundly as if in a coma for 16 hours.

The family could not rouse her and feared she had had a stroke. A few days later, the dyspnoea recurred and Tarentula cub. 60x had no effect. But the 1 M gave her peace and sleep for 24 hours and she was able to breathe without the oxygen and even lie down on her right side. The blood pressure stayed high, she was generally weaker and developed bed-sores on her buttocks but the dyspnoea did not return.

She had involuntary stools and urine and it was almost impossible to care for her at home. Euthanasia seemed attainable, but she insisted on going to a sanitarium where she was no longer under my care. Within the next eight days she suffered two strokes, uremia with convulsions, bed-sores all over her body and finally died in a coma.

With euthanasia apparently so nearly attained what was lacking? Would a higher potency of Tarentula cub. have done it? If not, what other remedy would have given her peace the last ten days? When should one stop trying to cure and attempt to attain euthanasia?.

1800 Glenview Road

Glenview, Illinois.

DISCUSSION.

DR. MARION BELLE ROOD (Lapeer, Mich.): It seems to me the big ingredient lacking was family cooperation with Dr. Gladish, and that was the most needed remedy in this case.

DR. GLADISH: No, I think the family really tried to cooperate very well. She was one of these very slight but very determined ladies whom you may have met, used to running her family. She was sure that she was going to get well, that it was just a temporary relapse she was suffering. I think probably if she had realized that she was going to die, and gotten that in her mind, she could have gone ahead and died at the time she went to the sanitarium.

DR. ROOD: I will amend that to “patient cooperation”.

DR. F. K. BELLOKOSSY (Denver, Colo.): Pulsatilla was a good remedy, and Lachesis probably much better, but the repetition of Lachesis came probably too soon. You should have left her on Lachesis longer, just one dose, and then a long interval, and during that interval you should have watched her diet very strongly and then repeat the Lachesis.

DR. GLADISH: You cant do that where the woman is sitting up and panting for breath.

DR. BELLOKOSSY: Tarantula wouldnt follow so well on that.

DR. GLADISH: Pulsatilla and Lachesis had some effect but did not hold. I would say I got more effect from Tarantula than anything else.

DR. BELLOKOSSY: If she was in a coma, that wasnt good.

DR. GLADISH: It was some time after the dose of Tarantula that she developed the coma.

DR. VIRGINIA M. JOHNSON: There was a lack of vital force.

DR. SUTHERLAND: I think the patient had so much irreversible pathology she couldnt have gotten well.

DR. BELLOKOSSY: Yes. The kidneys were probably quite bad, so you couldnt expect very much.

DR. ELIZABETH WRIGHT HUBBARD (New York, N. Y.): I am delighted to hear Dr. Gladishs statement that all the symptoms disappeared but the blood pressure stayed stuck, because so often with our Homoeopathy that happens. It is very curious. It is as though homoeopathic remedies had the power to erase the functional difficulties but there is a degree of pathology which very often, at least, we cannot reach, whether that is our failure, or whether that is just that the physical is too gross by that time, I do not know. Curiously enough, when Dr. Bellokossy was impertinently telling you what remedies you might have given, I, too impertinently wondered how the lady would have done on a dose of Iodine.

DR. BENNO LIPTON: What would be the indications for Iodine?.

DR. HUBBARD: My picture, from Dr. Gladishs few words, was of a thin little busybody who ran everything, and who had this terrific tension and breathlessness, and who was quite violently ill, and who craved air, a la Pulsatilla, and so forth. Iodine comes in amazingly in a lot of those essential hypertensions from nervous causes. If any of the symptoms agree, that is a thought.

DR. ALLAN D. SUTHERLAND (Brattleboro, Vt.): The Iodine patient, you know, eats like a horse or dog, and the symptoms are relieved by eating. Their tension goes down, and they also have to keep occupied all the time –much better doing something, either mentally or physically.

DR. HUBBARD: Something about her desire to go some place to get better, and her euphoria. He didnt mention anything about her eating habits.

DR. GLADISH (closing): Thank you for the discussion and the suggestions.

DR. Hubbards suggestion about Iodine may be a good one, because she did have an unusually good appetite for a person her age, and makeup, and appearance, and sickness, and though she wasnt actively restless, she was quietly domineering. (Laughter).

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