Read before Connecticut Homoeopathic Medical Society, May 14, 1940.
ALLAN D. SUTHERLAND, M.D.
Perhaps I may be pardoned for discussing a subject about which we have already heard so much. The professional and lay press yearly gives plenty of space to pneumonia. I believe that the saturation point has been reached. Both the profession and the public now know that pneumonia is one of the great killers of all time. We are made aware that the time of greatest incidence is in the winter. We are all thoroughly conversant with the etiology, the classical symptoms, and the usual course of the disease. We are familiar with the common complications.
Indeed, the laity can tell its collective doctors as much about pneumonia as the collective doctors can tell the laity. The public even knows how pneumonia should be treated. The only bright spot in this fine state of affairs is that the doctor has so little responsibility in the diagnosis and treatment of pneumonia. It certainly lifts a great burden from our shoulders to have a patient make his own diagnosis and prescribe his own treatment. All we have to do is type the sputum, procure the proper therapeutic agent, and sign the death certificate. It really is all very simple.
The responsibility for this widespread information concerning pneumonia and its treatment can be laid at the doctor of the Programs for Pneumonia Control fostered by State Boards of Health and other public health organizations. Not that I intend to deride the motives which have prompted these campaigns to make the public pneumonia-conscious. However, I do take issue with the attempt to make people believe that the sine qua non of the therapeutics of this condition is its treatment with serum and or chemotherapy.
The laity is given to believe that only through the use of the specific serum and /or sulfapyridine or related substances can pneumonia be adequately controlled. all homoeopaths of experience know the fallacy of this propaganda. Yet I fear that many of our persuasion are caught in the contagion of fear engendered by the effort to make the general public have a healthy respect for the death-dealing power of this disease.
It is easy to be led astray from the true therapeutics by the spectacular and dramatic results often obtained by the use of serum and / or sulfapyridine. There is no gain saying the fact that these results have an equal appeal to the patient. This is only natural, I suppose. Man is only too prone to accept shadow in lieu of substance. Yet I am not too stubborn a homoeopath to deny that these therapeutic agencies do get results. This they do beyond peradventure, providing all the requisites for successful treatment are present.
It is conceded by the proponents of this method that not much dependence can be placed on it when the disease is more than forty-eight hours old. Another way of stating this is to say that after the third day of the disease there is less and less likelihood of successful results from the use of specific sera or sulfapyridine. Hence the public must be taught to come to the doctor early enough so that serum can be effective. No one can be effective. No one can pick a fight over this because we all acknowledge that the earlier any disease comes under treatment, the more effective that treatment can be.
But what about these hidebound adherents to the status quo ante propagandae, these stubborn old “toughies” that wont admit they are sick until almost at deaths door? Well I am afraid they will have to fall back on the dyed-in-the-wool homoeopaths for their treatment. This , however, will not be as bad for these patients as its sounds. For years the homoeopath has been caring for those cases the allopath could not handle, and most successfully, too. We can do it just as successfully for pneumonia as for any other disease. In making this statement I am not merely letting my imagination run riot. There are some statistics available that show whether or not an idle boast has been made.
Dr. G. Harlan Wells of Philadelphia went over the case records of all lobar pneumonias treated at the Hahnemann Hospital of Philadelphia for a period of thirteen years. The results of his study were published in the December 1922 number of The Journal of the American Institute of Homoeopathy.
Dr. Wells counted only those cases who lived forty-eight hours after admission, considering the others in a moribund condition at entrance. In all 390 cases were studied. There were 102 deaths, a mortality rate of 26.1 percent This compared very favorably with the average hospital mortality of 20 to 40 percent. However, Dr. Wells divided these cases into three classes:.
(1) Cases receiving physiological medication throughout the course of treatment: 153.
Mortality rate—————60.1 percent
(2) Cases receiving a few doses of physiological medicine in addition to the homoeopathic remedy: 101.
Mortality rate———————-49.5 percent
(3). Cases receiving no medication except the homoeopathic remedy: 190.
Mortality rate———————–7.4 percent.
In this particular series of cases, comparison of the death rate under several types of therapeutic management amply demonstrates the superiority of pure homoeopathy in the treatment of pneumonia. Another series of cases from the same institution in Philadelphia showed a mortality of 7 percent These were cases treated by homoeopathy alone during the years 1918 to 1928.
Yet another statistical study was undertaken by Dr.E. Rodney Fiske of New York and his results were published in the October 1928 number of The Journal of the American Institute of Homoeopathy. From 701 homoeopathic physicians of the United States Dr. Fiske collected data on 17,669 cases of lobar pneumonia. From among this group there were 717 deaths, a death rate of 4.15 percent It was found that of the 17,699 cases of lobar pneumonia, 11,526 were treated exclusively with the indicated homoeopathic remedy, no other medication begins used.
There were 323 deaths, which represents a mortality of approximately 2.8 percent. The remaining 6,143 cases received other medication in addition to the indicated remedy and of these 384 died. In other words, of this group under a mixed treatment the death rate was 6.2 percent Dr. Fiske made still another classification-cases that received digitalis in addition to homoeopathic remedies. There were 1,848 of these with a mortality of 13.7 percent.
There are other figures available but surely I have quoted enough to make good my statement that we homoeopaths can treat pneumonia as successfully as we treat other diseases. Statistically, I believe we treat pneumonia more successfully than our brethren of the orthodox school. When we consider that only 2.8 percent of 11,526 cases of lobar pneumonia of all types under purely homoeopathic treatment were lost, we must ask ourselves what other treatment offers the patient as much. These figures offer the best appeal for a continuance in the path of an enlightened therapeutics.
If each case of lobar pneumonia were typed, if a record of the day of the disease on which the patient came under homoeopathic treatment were kept, if the complications arising in each case were noted, statistics would still show the same startling superiority as regards the result from homoeopathic treatment. It is true we would not see the remarkable drops in temperature that occur with the use of serum and chemotherapy. But after all we are not treating temperature, we are trying to cure sick people. Homoeopathy offers us the means. Have we the faith to accept? BRATTLEBORO, VT.