BY DR. BERNARD ASCHNER, Vienna.
Dr. aschner, a teacher at the University of Vienna, published in 1928 a large and important volume entitled The Crisis of the Art of Medicine-Constitutional Treatment is Needed. Of this volume the fifth edition was recently published. Aschner, like Hahnemann and other eminent medical thinkers, became profoundly dissatisfied with orthodox medicine and surgery and tried to find a way out.
With the greatest industry he set to work to study not merely the latest literature and procedures, but he endeavoured to learn from the wisdom and experience of the past. He studied the the writings of all the great masters of medicine from Hippocrates onward, he translated the writings of Paracelsus, he explored all the ancient methods which have been abandoned, such as bleeding, purging, etc., and he was wise and open-minded enough to study also homoeopathy and the methods employed by those laymen who call themselves nature curers.
He contributed an article under the above heading to the journal Hippocrates of January, 1934. After criticizing the methods of violence employed especially in womens diseases-Aschner is a specialist for womens disease and a surgeon-he gave various examples from his practice. I would quote the following:.
“A woman, aged 45, came to me. Five years previously she had been operated upon on account of a fibroid tumour of the womb, which was as large as a coconut and which had caused serious bleeding. The entire womb had been excised. During the twelve months following the operation she has felt quite well, but two years after the operation a change came over her.
She had the sensation as if she had been given a terrific blow on the head. That sensation was accompanied by terror, and the patient compared her sensations with the effect of a powerful electrical discharge into the brain. Further, she had the sensation that her heart might stop beating at any moment. Some years previously she had been suffering from inflammation of the nerves of the legs.
She then developed symptoms of a rheumatic, arthritic and neuritic kind, which one sees frequently in women in whom the change of life has been effected violently and before the proper time. Most experienced physicians and nerve specialists are aware that excision of the serious symptoms described, but the majority of gynecologists deny that radical operations have these terrible results and justify more or less unconsciously the drastic operations which they undertake so readily and so frequently.
The patient was stout at the time of the operation, weighing 11 stone. Since then she had gained a further 23 lbs. During the last six months her sufferings had been added to by daily attacks of angina pectoris accompanied by a sensation of faintness and of sinking if she made the slightest movement. During the last four months she had been in bed by her doctor who at last called me in for a consultation.
The electro-cardiograph showed that the lady was suffering from pronounced damage of the heart muscle, that the heart was enlarged, and there was pronounced congestion of the lungs and the legs were dropsical. During the part of a well-known heart specialist with heart medicines had been unsuccessful and that he was at the end of his resources.
During my first meeting with her doctor it appeared that her doctor had assumed that in some or other the ladys troubles were due to the change of life. He had given her ovarian preparations which, however, had had no effect. However, he did not consider the fact important that an artificial change of life had been produced by violence several years ago and that this interference might be the cause of the womans sufferings.
I drew his attention to the fact that an artificial menopause is apt to lead to a large accumulation of fact, high, blood pressure, dilatation of the heart, and that it might produce toxic injury to the heart muscle, arteries and veins, consequences which I frequently seen and described.
I prescribed for her. The lady was take Glauber Salt, Senna, Thyroid, and a reducing diet, and the bowel was to be activated in accordance with the principles of treatment by revulsion, or derivation practised by the doctors of the past. Furthermore, from six to eight leeches were to be applied to the heart region.
During the two weeks the patient made remarkable progress. She lost 7 lbs. of her overweight and passed a number of days without any attacks. In view of that improvement her doctor admitted that the extirpation of the womb had been a mistake and that only a conservative operation on the womb should have been effected. He could not deny that the artificially induced change of life caused heart attacks which threatened the womans life.
I intend to reduce the ladys weight by about 30 lbs. and to eliminate as far as possible the results of the unfortunate operation. I have observed a large number of cases in which extirpation of the female sex organs brought about heart disease, threatening life.
I would now give another example. A girl of 17 had been suffering from depression for nine months. She had frequent attacks of cramps and fainting fits. She has consulted an experienced physician, a nerve specialist at the Vienna University. He had diagnosed epilepsy and had treated the girl for epilepsy. His prognosis was cautious and he doubted whether his patient was curable.
The girl had received the usual treatment. She has been given Bromides, Luminal, and a salt-free diet. The young lady wished to study, but in view of the serious forecast nothing could be settled about her future.
In August, 1932, she placed herself under my care. Although she was kept permanently under Bromide and Luminal, she experienced one or two attacks every week and she told me that she was terribly depressed, while formerly she had been very merry and bright. She also complained about very violent and very frequent headaches and sleeplessness.
I discovered that menstruation, which formerly had continued during four days, was going on only during two days and that the flow had been greatly reduced. The girl was far too thin, she suffered from indigestion and her gastric troubles had become intensified by her being given a saltless and tasteless diet.
I forbade absolutely the use of all narcotics, prescribed a strengthening diet with meat and highly special dishes creating an appetite instead of taking Bromide or Luminal in the evening her nerves were to be calmed with beer or Vermouth. She was to have some stomachics and medicines to increase the menstrual flow. She was also given hydropathic treatment.
After a fortnight of this treatment the so-called epileptic attacks had come to an end, and this freedom from attacks had continued without her taking any narcotics, such as Bromide and Luminal. After a further fortnight the patients appearance had greatly improved, her depression was gone, she slept much better. After two months of this treatment the patient was scarcely recognizable.
She looked fresh, healthy and vivacious, did excellent work at her studies, slept splendidly and had taken up intensive gymnastics on my advice, with excellent results. She told me that she could not understand why the nerve specialist had strictly forbidden her to touch meat, spices, condiments and alcohol. Before she came to me she was in so low a condition that she had been contemplating suicide.
Very frequently patients who appear to be incurable can be cured with surprising rapidity and ease if one searches for the cause of the trouble which may have been overlooked. I would give an example. A short time ago a lady, 35 years old, who did clerical work, came under my treatment. Menstruation lasted only two or three days and ever since puberty the flow had been very scanty.
During the last two years the flow had been reduced still further, and during that time the patient lost nearly 40 lbs. When she took off her clothes I noticed that she was wearing a surgical corset which supported her from the hips up to the armpits. She lived in a steel case.
She told me that two years ago she had consulted a well-known specialist who had discovered by mean of X-rays that she suffered from a chronic inflammation of the spinal column, accompanied with bony outgrowths from the vertebrae. She had been given this extraordinary surgical corset and was told that she would have to wear it for the rest of her life.
She also told me that formerly she had gone in for sports and games, but that all these activities had been prohibited. The surgical corset made free movement impossible. She had undergone cures at Gastein, Baden and elsewhere, and had been treated by numerous injections, diathermy, X-rays, but nothing had improved her condition. She suffered from indigestion, had no appetite, was constipated.
I prescribed a strengthening diet, senna to activate her bowels and medicine to activate the menstrual flow and I produced on her back along the spinal column within a region of six inches on either side an outbreak of pustules by the Baunscheidt process.
Soon afterwards the patient was once more able to bend forward and sideways which hitherto had been impossible. After a week the pustules artificially produced on her had dried up, her pain had gone, she could walk with ease and elastic step. After a fortnight of this treatment she went for a four hours walk without the surgical corset. For two years she had not been able to walk. Her general health and appetite had improved greatly.
A lady, 47 years old, was suffering severely in consequence of the change of life. The most annoying of her troubles was very severe pain in the joint of the right big toe, which had been diagnosed as chronic arthritis. This pain was constantly in evidence. The patient was no longer able to walk or to play tennis. The lady had consulted the leading surgeons and orthopaedic physicians of Vienna. She was given numerous medical and physical treatments and orthopaedic shoes, but nothing helped.
Two applications for producing pustules by the Baunscheidt method caused the complete disappearance of her pain and the patient can now walk and play tennis to her hearts content. Orthodox medicine had forgotten the treatments given by the doctors of the past, who treated conditions of this kind immediately by the application of leeches and by Cantharides plasters, which produced pustules. If their treatment was delayed they produced an artificial issue and treated the patient with Calomel, Antimony, etc., and thus cut short the development of an arthritis which threatened to immobilize limbs and to destroy bony structures.
Operations on the womb should be done conservatively. A surgeon who favoured radical operations had operated ten years ago on a woman who then was 42 years old because she had fibroid tumour as large as an apple. The swelling had not caused any particular difficulties or sufferings, not had the patient been complaining about heavy haemorrhage. As is usually the case, the patient did well during the first two years following the operation.
Then she began to suffer from ever-increasing ebullitions of blood and from very serious nervous symptoms. The lady who formerly had been healthy and strong complained that she did not enjoy tolerable health during a single day. Her sufferings had broken her during completely, she had the most terrible feelings of panic and other nerve sensations which she could not describe and she could not stand her sufferings any longer. She had been given ovarian preparations by the mouth and in form of injection.
She had consulted nearly all the gynaecologists of Vienna but had been given no relief. Her stomach was greatly inflated. It pressed on the heart. She had consulted because of these symptoms practically all the best Vienna specialists. She had been given alternatively acids and alkalines, a baby diet, and a diet entirely composed of raw food, she had been treated for duodenal catarrh and colitis, had been given a milk diet, Luminal, etc.
Examination of the patient revealed the existence of an enormously enlarged stomach, which produced splashing noises on pressure. I prescribed for the patient a strengthening diet from which milk was excluded, a laxative, a bitter stomach tonic, and hydrotherapy, and forbade, the use of narcotics which had increased her indigestion and the atony of her stomach.
As usual, improvement took place with surprising rapidity, while the stereotyped orthodox treatment with hormones, sedatives, and the usual orthodox treatment of dyspepsia had not been able to produce any improvement. Of course the best treatment for the poor woman would have been if she had not been radically operated upon.
The few examples given are representative of many. Modern medicine had done great things in the domain of diagnosis, and has produced great technical advancement. However, it seems clear that more remote cause of illness should be considered and treated before allowing specialists to operate on eyes, ears, nose, abdominal organs, etc. Besides the methods of treatment employed at present we must use those empirical methods which were used in the past with success, which have stood the test of practice although they may be considered unscientific by the present leaders of orthodox medicine.”.
I can support Professor Aschner in his contention. I have frequently seen similarly extraordinary results obtained by unorthodox, old-fashioned and unscientific treatments. The wise doctor will not disdain learning new methods from anyone who knows how to cure, professorial or non-professorial, professional or lay. Many of the most valuable medical proceedings were learned from experienced old women and from animals, from illiterate natives and from medicine men. Modern medicine is not scientific but desperately narrow and incredibly conceited. EDITOR].