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- Personal Experience of a Physician - 1/23 -


PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF A PHYSICIAN,

WITH

AN APPEAL TO THE MEDICAL AND CLERICAL PROFESSIONS;

AND

AN APPENDIX,

A REVIEW OF "CHRIST AND THE TEMPERANCE QUESTION" IN THE CHRISTIAN UNION.

BY

JOHN ELLIS, M.D.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I. PERSONAL MEDICAL EXPERIENCE OK A PHYSICIAN.

CHAPTER II. WHY EVERY PHYSICIAN SHOULD EXAMINE HOMOEOPATHY.

CHAPTER III. DANGERS THAT RESULT FROM THE ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT OF DISEASES.

CHAPTER IV. PERSONAL RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE OF A PHYSICIAN.

CHAPTER V. THE DAWN OF A NEW DISPENSATION.

CHAPTER VI. A NEW DAY TO OUR EARTH.

CHAPTER VII. THE WANTS OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH.

CHAPTER VIII. RESTRAINING AND CURING SPIRITUAL AND NATURAL DISEASES.

CHAPTER IX. PERSONAL EXPERIENCE CONTINUED AND EFFORTS.

CHAPTER X. FINAL APPEAL TO THE CLERGY.

ADDENDUM. A REVIEW OF "CHRIST AND THE TEMPERANCE QUESTION," IN THE "CHRISTIAN UNION."

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF A PHYSICIAN.

CHAPTER I.

We all admit that every one who attempts to act as a physician, should strive to qualify himself, or herself, for the work by obtaining the best education which our medical schools afford; for to physicians are intrusted, not simply the property or money, but the very lives of their fellow-citizens. As the responsibility is great, so the duty of preparing one's self before commencing practice, and of keeping fully abreast of all new and valuable discoveries in the art of healing, is equally great. A physician should not be led blindly by his teachers and prominent medical writers, and so strongly confirm himself in the theories and views which they proclaim that he cannot, without prejudice, examine new views and theories with due care. It has been said that when Harvey discovered the true course of the circulation of the blood, there was not a single professor in the medical colleges of England over fifty years of age, who ever believed "the heresy," as his discovery was called. However this may have been, it is certain that professors and prominent medical writers are not always the first to see and recognize the truth, even when it is clearly presented to their notice.

A native of western Massachusetts, I studied medicine with an intelligent and worthy physician in my native town, and attended two and one-half courses of medical lectures at the Berkshire Medical College, at Pittsfield, Mass., and graduated in 1841; and during the following winter I attended the Medical College at Albany, N. Y., devoting a large portion of my time to dissecting. After finishing at Albany, I visited various places in western and central Massachusetts, and operated on eyes for strabismus or cross-eyes,--an operation which had then been recently introduced for that deformity; after which I settled at Chesterfield (Mass.), and commenced practicing medicine, where I remained about one year.

One day I visited Northampton, and, calling on a physician with whom I was acquainted, I found upon his table a homoeopathic book. "Why," I exclaimed with astonishment, "you are not studying homoeopathy, are you?" "Yes," he replied, "I am studying it, and trying the remedies cautiously;" and he went on to describe cases which he had treated satisfactorily by the use of the remedies, and among them a case of pleurisy and one of intermittent fever, and he wound up by saying: "Now, if you will go down the street to a book-store and purchase 'Hull's Jahr,' in two volumes, I will give you half a dozen homoeopathic remedies, and you can try them for yourself."

Here was a dilemma. Never until that hour had I ever heard homoeopathy spoken of, by either a medical professor or one of my professional brethren, except with contempt and ridicule. "But," I said to myself, "if there is any truth in homoeopathy I ought to know it, and I cannot treat this physician's testimony with contempt; and it is a duty which I owe to my fellow-men, and especially to my patients, to investigate the new system carefully." I immediately went and purchased the books, and he give me six bottles of medicine, and I took them back with me to Chesterfield. I remember making but one Homoeopathic prescription before leaving Chesterfield, and that was for a case of uterine hemorrhage, which I had treated unsuccessfully for some time with allopathic remedies. I looked over my Homoeopathic books carefully and found that China (cinchona) was indicated. As that remedy was not among the bottles of medicated pellets which my medical friend had given me, I directed that one drop of the ordinary tincture of Peruvian bark should be dropped into a glass of water, and that, after stirring it well, one teaspoonful of the solution thus made should be given three or four times a day. The patient commenced improving immediately, and was soon well.

Soon after that I removed to Grand Rapids, Michigan, and commenced anew the practice of medicine. I then had neither the knowledge nor the faith in homoeopathy which I thought would justify me in treating any serious case of disease with homoeopathic remedies; but I did not neglect to study the new books. One day, a friend of my younger days, who was residing at Grand Haven, came into my office and said that he had been suffering from the toothache for several days, and that he did not like to have the tooth extracted, and he wanted to know if I could do anything for it without extracting it. I told him that I had recently obtained some homoeopathic books and remedies, and that I had noticed that remedies were spoken of for toothache. So I looked over my books and selected Belladonna as the remedy suitable in his case, and gave him a dose of it and other doses to take with him if he needed them. We talked in the office for a short time, and then we walked up to the hotel where he was stopping; as we entered, he stood still a moment and remarked: "Well, my tooth does not ache as severely as it did." I saw him weeks afterward, and he told me that he had not had the toothache from the hour he took the medicine.

Away in that new place, then a village of about one thousand inhabitants, with no homoeopathic physician within a hundred miles of me, I commenced cautiously the use of the new remedies; first in mild cases of disease, and in cases where Allopathic treatment failed to produce the desired effect. Among the first of the serious cases where I used the remedies was a case of pneumonia. A young man had been very sick with that disease for many days. I had resorted vigorously to the antiphlogistic treatment then in vogue; a consulting physician was called, and at last we told the family that our patient could not live until the next morning. I then said to the consulting physician: "I have some homoeopathic remedies; suppose we try them?" His reply was: "It does not make any difference what you try; he will not live until morning." Under such circumstances I felt that I was justified in trying the new remedies. I accordingly dissolved a few pellets of Aconite in a glass of water, and of Bryonia alb. in another glass of water, and directed that a teaspoonful of the solution of Aconite should be given once an hour for five hours, and that a similar dose of Bryonia be given instead of Aconite every sixth hour. I sat down by his bedside and watched his case for two hours. At the end of that period I found that his pulse was five beats less frequent in a minute, and that his breathing was a little easier. The next morning all of his dangerous symptoms had disappeared, and in a reasonable period of time he was restored to health. I talked with the consulting physician about his unexpected recovery, and we were, disposed to think that we had made a false prognosis, and that he would have recovered any way. Still, the case made some impression on me; so that in the next case of pneumonia to which I was called, I resolved to try the same remedies in the same way. The patient was a man about forty years of age. Under the action of the Aconite and Bryonia the patient about held his own, neither gaining nor losing very perceptibly for about three days. At the end of that period I became alarmed, and felt that if the patient were to die I should be guilty of the crime of manslaughter. I discontinued the treatment, and resorted to the then regular antiphlogistic treatment; the patient immediately began to get worse, and at the end of three days more he was a very sick man. I then came to the conclusion that my patient had done much better under the homoeopathic treatment than he had under the Allopathic, and I discontinued the latter and returned to the former, giving the Aconite and Bryonia. The patient ceased to grow worse; he held his own for two or three days, then he began to improve, and was soon restored to health. From that day to this I have never bled a patient suffering from either pneumonia or pleurisy, neither have I applied a blister, or given a cathartic, or an Allopathic dose of tartar emetic, or an opiate, or any form of alcoholic or fermented drinks, either during the continuance of the above-named diseases or during convalescence; nor have I ever regretted, in a single instance, not having done so.

During the fall of the year we had many cases of dysentery which were very obstinate, continuing one or two weeks or longer, attended by a fever approaching a typhoid character. I found the Allopathic treatment unsatisfactory, as there were quite a number of deaths. So I consulted my homoeopathic books and concluded to try the remedies; but at that time I had only the six carefully prepared remedies given me by the physician in Northampton, and I found that I needed some other remedies; so for Arsenicum I used a drop of Fowler's solution of arsenic in a glassful of water, giving a teaspoonful of the solution thus prepared for a dose, and I


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