"In the two preceding numbers of this journal, I have endeavored to show that the chief causes of nervous exhaustion and heart failure, in typhoid and other fevers were impairment of the hemoglobin and corpuscular elements of the blood, deficient reception and internal distribution of oxygen, and molecular degeneration of the muscular structures of the heart itself. These important pathological conditions are doubtless caused by the specific toxic agent or agents giving rise to the fever. Consequently the rational objects of treatment are to stop the further action of the specific cause, either by neutralization, or elimination, or both; to stop the further impairment of the hemoglobin and other elements of the blood; and to increase the reception and internal distribution of oxygen, by which we will most effectually prevent further fatty or granular degeneration of cardiac and other structures. The language of the paragraphs I have quoted, fairly assumes that alcohol is a stimulant capable of relieving nervous exhaustion and cardiac failures, regardless of the causes producing those pathological conditions, and consequently its use is necessary in the 'majority of cases' of typhoid fever.
"Can such an assumption be sustained by either established facts, or correct reasoning? Can nervous and cardiac exhaustion, induced by the presence of toxic agents in the blood, with deficiency of both hemoglobin and oxygen, be relieved by a simple stimulant, that neither neutralizes nor eliminates the toxic agents, nor increases either the hemoglobin or oxygen? That alcohol does not neutralize or destroy toxic ptomaines, or tox-albumins, is proved by abundant clinical experience, and also by the fact that chemists use it freely in the processes for separating these substances from other organic matters for experimental purposes. That its presence in the living body retards metabolic changes generally, and thereby aids in retaining instead of eliminating toxic agents of all kinds, has been so fully shown in the pages of preceding numbers of the Medical Temperance Quarterly, that the leading facts need not be repeated here. That its presence does not increase the hemoglobin, or favor oxy-hemoglobin or increased internal distribution of oxygen, but decidedly the reverse, has been equally well demonstrated by numerous and reliable experimental researches in this and other countries.
"Then it must be conceded that alcohol is not capable of fulfilling either of the important indications presented in the treatment of typhoid fever as stated above. Nevertheless, the advocates of its use apparently recognize but two ideas or factors in these cases, namely, the popularly inherited assumption that alcohol is a stimulant, and as the patient is in danger from nervous and cardiac weakness, therefore the alcohol must be given, pro re nata without the slightest regard to the existing causes of the weakness, or the modus operandi of the so-called stimulant.
"This is proved by the fact that they group together as stimulants, and give to the same patient in alternate doses, remedies of directly antagonistic action, as alcohol and strychnine, or digitalis, etc.
"The accepted definition of a stimulant in medical literature, is some agent capable of exciting or increasing vital activity as a whole, or the natural activity of some one structure or organ.
"For instance, both clinical and experimental observations show that strychnine directly increases the functional activity of the respiratory, cardiac and vasomotor nervous systems, and thereby increases the internal distribution of oxygen, which is nature's own special exciter of all vital action. Therefore it is properly a direct respiratory, cardiac and vasomotor stimulant and indirectly a stimulator of all vital processes. But the same kind of clinical and experimental observations show that alcohol directly diminishes the functional activity of all nerve structures, pre-eminently those of respiration and circulation, and also of all metabolic processes, whether respirative, disintegrative or secretory. Consequently it not only acts as directly antagonistic to strychnine, but equally so to all true stimulants or remedies capable of increasing vital activity. Instead, therefore, of meriting the name of stimulant, alcohol should be designated and used only as an anaesthetic and sedative, or depressor of vital activity.
"And a thorough and impartial investigation will show that its use in the treatment of typhoid and other fevers, while deceiving both physician and patient, by its anaesthetic effect in diminishing restlessness, both prolongs the duration and increases the ratio of mortality of the disease, by its impairment of vital activity in the organizable elements of both blood and tissues."
Equally interesting is the following outline of treatment pursued by Dr. W. H. Riley, of the Battle Creek Sanitarium.
"The purpose of the present paper is to give briefly an outline of the method of treatment of typhoid fever as used by the writer in a considerable number of cases.
"A consideration of the pathology of this disease does not properly come under this head, but we wish simply to call attention to the well-known fact that typhoid fever is a germ disease. The germ which causes this fever has generally been supposed to be the bacillus of Eberth. More recent bacteriological studies rather indicate that the bacillus coli may also cause the disease. These germs are usually carried into the body in food or drink, and, lodging in the small intestines, begin to grow and multiply, and by their life produce poisonous ptomaines which are absorbed and carried by the circulation to all the organs and tissues of the body.
"It is these ptomaines, thus carried to all parts of the body, that are largely the immediate cause of the pyrexia and attending symptoms. The organisms which produce these poisons for the most part remain in the intestines, although they have been found in the spleen.
"The indications for treatment are:—
"1. To remove or destroy the cause (to eliminate the germs and ptomaines from the body).
"2. To sustain the vital and resisting powers of the patient.
"If the patient is seen early in the disease, it has been my practice to immediately put him to bed and give a free dose of magnesium sulphate. This is preferably given in the morning or forenoon, and may be repeated once or twice on successive days. Besides this the patient should have a large enema of water at a temperature of from 75 deg. to 80 deg. F.; and this may be repeated daily or even oftener, for some time, if necessary, to keep the bowels empty of the poisonous substances.
"The salines and enemas thus used carry out bodily a large number of germs and ptomaines that are present in the intestines; and further, the salines, by producing an increased secretion of the mucous membrane of the intestines, tend to disentangle and set free many of the germs that have found a lodging place in the walls of the intestines.
"For the elimination of the ptomaines which have been absorbed into the circulation and carried to the tissues, nothing is better than the internal use of water. From three to five pints should be drunk during every twenty-four hours. It should be taken in small quantities—six to eight ounces every hour or two during waking hours, except when food is taken. I will refer to this point more in detail later.
"A consideration of the general care of the patient properly comes under the second head of the indications for treatment as given above. The patient should be put to bed in a large, light, well-ventilated room. At least two sides of the room should communicate directly by windows with out-of-doors, in order that the room may be properly ventilated.
"All unnecessary articles of furniture, such as carpets, couches, upholstered chairs, pictures, etc. should be removed.
"The room should be thoroughly cleaned before the patient is put into it.
"There should be two beds in the room for the use of the patient. These should be, preferably, narrow and so placed in the room that there is a free approach to both sides of the bed, for the convenience of the nurse in giving treatment. Iron bedsteads are preferable to wooden. The bedding should be firm, yet soft and smoothly drawn. There should be just sufficient covering to protect the body. The patient should be changed from one bed to the other daily. This may be done by placing the two beds side by side and carefully moving the patient from one to the other. The sheets on the bed from which the patient has been taken should be washed and disinfected at each change of the beds, and all other bedding should be thoroughly aired and exposed to the sunlight daily.
"The patient should have the care of a thoroughly educated, careful and competent nurse, one who understands perfectly the various methods of using water in the treatment of fevers.
"There is no other single remedy that I consider so valuable in the treatment of fever as the internal use of water. As above stated, the patient should drink six or eight ounces every hour during the waking hours, except for about two hours after food is taken. The water should be thoroughly sterilized, and as a rule may be taken either cool or hot. Ice water is objectionable. Hot water is often preferable. This is a simple remedy, but nevertheless is efficacious. It should be given to the patient whether he calls for it or not, and it should be considered an important part of his treatment. When water is taken into the stomach and absorbed into the circulation, it throws into solution the ptomaines which have been absorbed from the intestines and are present in the circulation and tissues, and thereby puts them in a favorable condition for elimination. It increases the activity of the kidneys, and thus hastens and increases the elimination of the poisons in the system.
"In the early stage of the fever, when the pulse is full, and the action of the heart increased, it is best to give the patient cool water. Later in the disease, when the action of the heart is weak, and the patient feeble, it is best to give the water hot.
"Winternitz, many years ago, demonstrated that hot water taken into the stomach acts as a cardiac stimulant, and the increased heart's action is immediate, or at least before the water has time to absorb, which indicates that the water in the stomach acts reflexly as a cardiac stimulant. The water after absorption also increases the circulation by filling the blood-vessels, and increasing arterial pressure. The writer has frequently noticed a decided increase in the fullness, and rapidity of the pulse, after a patient has drunk a glassful of hot water.
"The external use of water also forms an important part of the treatment. The patient should be sponged off with tepid water every hour or two when the temperature is 103 deg., or above. When the temperature is less than this, it is not necessary to sponge the body so frequently. Sometimes a hot sponge bath is more efficacious in reducing the temperature than the tepid or cool bath. The sponge bath reduces the temperature, relieves many of the distressing nervous symptoms, is refreshing to the patient, and promotes sleep. The temperature of the body may also be reduced by the use of cool compresses placed over the abdomen, and changed frequently.
"The matter of diet is an important factor in the treatment of typhoid fever. The diet should be aseptic, easily digested, and should contain the necessary food elements. Probably no one article of diet meets all these requirements as well as sterilized milk. The patient should take from two to three pints daily. The milk is best taken four times during the day at intervals of four hours, taking eight to ten ounces at a time. Should the patient become tired of the milk, gluten gruel may be substituted for the milk.
"The diarrhoea and bowel symptoms, when present, may be relieved by the application of hot fomentations to the abdomen, warm or hot enemas and twenty grains of subnitrate of bismuth given every four hours.
"The patient should be kept as quiet as possible, and should be turned in bed at intervals, to prevent hypostatic congestion and the formation of bed-sores. The bony prominences which are apt to become eroded should be sponged frequently with a solution of tannic acid in equal parts of alcohol and water; a dram of the tannic acid to a pint of alcohol and water, is about the proper strength to use.
"By the methods briefly outlined above—that is by the free use of water internally and externally, by keeping the intestines thoroughly emptied of poisonous material by the free and frequent use of enemas, by proper feeding and the careful attention of a good nurse to the patient and his surroundings—the duration of the fever may be shortened and the severity of the disease lessened; heart failure, and other complications will seldom occur, and the patient will in nearly every instance make a good recovery. The best method to pursue to prevent heart failure is to keep the poisons which are generated in the bowels and absorbed into the body, and which are the direct cause of the heart failure, eliminated from the body. Should the heart become weak, it may be effectually stimulated by giving hot water to drink, applying heat to the heart in the form of a fomentation, and the application of fomentations to the upper spine.
"In the treatment of a large number of cases of typhoid fever, extending over several years' practice, the writer has never made use of alcohol internally to support the action of the heart, or for any other purpose.
"The number of cases of death from typhoid fever coming under the writer's observation, where the method of treatment pursued has been similar to that briefly indicated above, have been very few, a much smaller per cent. than in practice where alcohol has been used as a 'cardiac stimulant.' I believe that the use of alcohol in the treatment of typhoid fever is not only useless, but absolutely harmful."
Dr. Kate Lindsay, of Battle Creek Sanitarium and Hospital, contributed an article upon Typhoid Fever to the Bulletin of the A. M. T. A. for January, 1896, from which a few notes are here taken:—
"The chief toxic centre is evidently the intestinal tract, especially the termination of the ileum. The ulcerations, necroses, perforations and hemorrhages are most frequently found in the last twelve inches of the small intestine, and may extend into the large intestine. The ulcerated surface and open vessels increase the facility with which the poison finds entrance into the circulation. The microbes, blood clots, necrosed tissue and pus, furnish abundant supplies of toxic matter, which, saturating the system, over-power and stop the activity of the functions of all the organs of the body, causing degeneration of tissues. Death is said to take place from heart, lung or brain failure, but the failure involves every other organ as well.
"Regarding the intestinal tract as any other abscess at this time, the physician should seek for methods of treatment or remedies which will remove the morbid matters, and destroy, or at least inhibit their action, thus decreasing the fever and stimulating the circulation. Secondary toxic centres often develop in the course of this disease, notably in the glands, lungs and dependent organs, the hypostatic congestion resulting from lying in one position, causing stasis of blood, death and necrosis of tissue, both of the external and internal organs. All vessels connected with the dying tissues carry toxins to other parts of the body. Suppurating glands, and phlebitis of the femoral veins are examples of this secondary infection, and are accountable for the heart failure and collapse so often fatal during the second, third and fourth weeks of typhoid fever. * * * * *
"The old idea that in peristaltic action lay the great danger of increase of the hemorrhage and perforation of the bowels, is giving way to the more rational view that gaseous distention and septic absorption, are what bring about fatal results from these complications, and that the moderate peristalsis of the intestinal walls lessens these dangers by closing the gaping ends of the injured vessels, and expelling the septic matter and foul gases. To meet these indications I have found lavage of the bowels, even during hemorrhage, with water of 105 deg. to 110 deg. F. or even hotter, given in moderate quantity of from one pint to three, to give great relief by freeing the large intestines of blood clots, fecal matter and other morbid matter. It also increases peristaltic action in the small intestines, thus favoring the expulsion of gas. The heat stimulates the circulation in the peripheral vessels of the intestines, and overcomes the tendency to blood stasis.
"In the cases cited, ice-bags, alternated with fomentations, were used over the abdomen externally, and heat, or hot and cold, to spine. The extremities were kept warm. From ten to thirty minims of turpentine, in an ounce of gum acacia or starch water, increased the efficiency of the enemata, and aided in expelling the gas and checking hemorrhage.
"The tendency to hypostatic congestion and bed-sores, was prevented by frequent change of position, and the use of hot and cold to the spine by fomentations and compresses, or better still, hot fine spraying, or the alternate hot and cold spray. In one grave case, spraying was kept up for about twelve hours, with only short intermissions. The heart was stimulated by heat applied over it, whenever depression and collapse threatened, and by hot and cold sponging of the spine."
Dr. Noble said some time ago in the London Times:—
"Although it is true that alcohol is an antipyretic, yet its exhibition neither shortens nor modifies (favorably) the diseases of which the fever is but a symptom. The paralysis of the brain which is so frequent a cause of death in typhoid fever, is more often brought about by alcohol than any other cause, and more than one woman suffering from puerperal fever has been done to death by the administration of this substance, which, not being convenienter naturae, is contra naturam."
J. S. Cain, M. D., in an able paper, read at the Nashville Academy of Medicine, on "Rational Suggestions in the Treatment of Typhoid Fever," dissents from the practice, which still obtains largely in the medical profession, of administering alcoholic liquors, in the belief that they are "stimulants, conservators of force and even nutrients," and says:—
"After a careful and thoughtful study of this subject, I have reluctantly, and against firm early convictions, been forced to the conclusion that these theories with regard to the beneficial effects of alcohol in disease are wholly fallacious. The only rational conclusion at which I can arrive is that the agent is ever, and under all circumstances, a depressor of temperature; that it arrests the physiological interchange of carbonic acid gas and oxygen in the tissues, as well as in the air vesicles of the lungs; that it impedes the elimination of tissue waste, and causes the accumulation of this refuse in the system; that it is lethal anaesthetic in all quantities; that it is not stimulant in the true sense, and never exerts that influence; and that it supplies no element to the diseased and vitiated system calculated to antagonize disease, repair waste, or invigorate lowered vital forces, and therefore for these purposes is not called for in the rational treatment of typhoid fever."
At the annual meeting of the American Medical Association held in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1896, Dr. G. B. Garber, of Dunkirk, Ind., read a paper upon "Alcohol in Typhoid Fever" from which a few points are here taken:—
"The fact that the mortality from typhoid fever seems to be gradually lowering is no doubt due in great measure to the non-use of alcohol in the treatment of the disease. Hardly a week passes that some of our journals do not report a series of cases treated without the aid of alcohol in any form. I used alcohol in the treatment of the disease until two years ago, when I became alarmed at the mortality; so I changed my plan, and in 1894 I treated thirty-seven well marked cases of varying degrees of intensity. I had two fatal cases, and in both of them I had used alcohol. In 1895 I treated thirty cases of about the same type, with no death. I only used alcohol in one of them, and it caused me more trouble than any of the others. As this case was in the family of a saloon-keeper, I could not control the matter, as they would give it during my absence. On my return I would find the face flushed, the temperature high, the pulse rapid and the patient nervous. By close inquiry I would find that some of the family had given 'just a little good whisky' which had been in the house for twenty years.
"In closing, I wish to state that I am well convinced that in the treatment of typhoid fever our patients will do better and stand a greater chance of recovery, if we abstain entirely from the use of alcohol in the treatment of the disease."
Prof. J. Burney Yeo, of London, in a paper read before the International Medical Congress held at Rome, Italy, said:—
"In order to maintain the intestinal antisepsis which forms an essential part of this method of treatment, I insist on the necessity of scrupulous attention and caution in feeding patients suffering from enteric fever, great danger arising from a failure to note the extremely limited digestive and absorptive capacity exhibited by such patients.
"In conclusion, the use of alcoholic stimulants, and the common employment of depressing antipyretic agents, must be condemned."
In a report of the treatment of typhoid fever by seventy-two physicians of Connecticut, thirty-eight declared that they did not use alcohol in any stage of this disease. The remainder used it sparingly in the last stages, and only two considered it valuable from the beginning of the disease.
In a discussion of typhoid fever by a medical society meeting in Rochester, N. Y., recently, sixty physicians being present, only three spoke in favor of using alcohol in this disease.
Hygienic physicians all insist upon a rigid fast as long as the high temperature continues, or until the patient is sufficiently hungry to eat a piece of plain, stale, graham bread, "dry upon the tongue." Dr. Charles E. Page of Boston says there would be very few relapses if this plan were carefully carried out. He contends that the whisky and milk diet, together with the not over-fresh air of the average sick room is enough to produce fever in a healthy person, hence is not likely to be conducive to recovery in one already infected with the disease.
In an article in the Arena of September, 1892, Dr. Page says:—
"In my fever practice I have frequently observed the effect of fasts of six, eight, ten and twelve days to be in the highest degree productive of the health and comfort of patients, as, on the other hand I have, during the past twenty years observed the deplorable effects of the almost universal plan of constant feeding. In some of the most distressing cases that have happened to be thrown in my way, when all hope in the minds of friends had been abandoned, I have found that withdrawal of food, drugs and stimulants, and the substitution of simple, fresh, soft water, has produced results that seemed almost miraculous."
Fruit juices are now permitted by many physicians in fever, a few drops of lemon or orange juice, being a grateful addition to the water. Grape juice, unfermented, is highly recommended by some.
A young minister of great promise died recently of typhoid fever. His young wife, only one year married, is in settled melancholy, because she cannot understand why "God took her husband." Inquiry developed the fact that the physician in attendance was a believer in alcohol as a remedy, and used it in this case. In view of the better chances of recovery under non-alcoholic treatment shown by comparative death-rates, may it not be that the alcohol was responsible for the young man's death, instead of its being "God's will to take him?" The Author of all good has too frequently been held responsible for the errors of physicians, and the carelessness of nurses.
VOMITING:—"If the vomiting is due to undigested food, and the sickness can be traced to excess, or to improper diet, draughts of hot water should be taken in order to be rid of offending matter in the stomach. After the stomach is empty bits of ice may be sucked, or cold water sipped. A quarter of a Seidlitz powder may be taken. A flannel, folded to four thicknesses, dipped in hot water, and wrung dry in a towel, may be applied to the pit of the stomach. Cover the flannel with a hot plate, being careful to have the flannel large enough to prevent the plate's burning the skin. Pin a dry towel over all, around the body. This may be renewed every half-hour or hour, as required. Sometimes a cold wet compress on the pit of the stomach, covered with a dry towel is more efficacious, heat developing by reaction. Fluid magnesia is often helpful."—DR. RIDGE.
ALCOHOL AND NURSING MOTHERS.
It frequently happens that the nursing mother is unable by reason of defective digestive apparatus, or imperfect assimilative powers, to supply sufficient nourishment for her babe. In such case she is often advised to drink ale or beer. It is true that these liquors will excite the secretions of the mammary gland, but it is increase in quantity, not in quality, for the milk is impoverished by the added water and alcohol, taken in the beer. Milkmen sometimes salt cows heavily so that they will drink largely of water, and thus give more milk, but one quart of good, rich milk is worth three quarts of the poor, thin stuff resulting from such method. It is proper feeding, and care, that ensure good milk.
When women complain that they are unable to nurse their babies the cause is often an error in diet. Too great reliance is put upon meat as strength-giving. While meat, used in moderation, may be valuable to many persons, the nursing mother should not depend upon it to any great extent. She will find farinaceous foods, with plenty of warm milk, what she most requires. At bedtime she should have a bowl of well-cooked oatmeal gruel, diluted with rich milk, and sweetened, if she prefer it so. The milk should be added to the gruel while it is boiling, as it digests more readily if scalded. People who cannot, or think they cannot, take milk of itself, often find it easy to digest it, after it is scalded in the gruel. Anything that a mother can do in the way of nourishing her babe will be done upon such a diet, that is, farinaceous foods and milk. Sweet fruits are of course valuable also, as tending to keep the system in good order.
It is well to bear in mind that it is not the quantity of food eaten, but that which is digested, and assimilated, that goes to build up the tissues of the body. So the habit of eating between meals is pernicious, as it disturbs the digestive processes, and robs the stomach of much-needed rest. This habit is the cause, in many cases, of the falling off in the milk after the first month or two.
As nourishment for both mother and babe can come from food only, good appetite, and good digestion are essential to health and strength. The very best help towards gaining a good appetite is exercise in the open air. All mothers recognize the need of keeping their little ones out of doors a while every day, but all do not see the necessity of the same mode of life for themselves. Dr. Nathan S. Davis has said: "I have persuaded thousands of mothers to try fresh air, instead of wine or beer, with gratifying results." The mother who takes her babe out, herself, for its daily airing, is laying up stores of health and vitality, to aid her in providing for the needs of the little one, dependent upon her.
Good digestion is as essential as good appetite. Alcohol, whether in beer, wine, whisky, or any other form, is injurious to the stomach, and a hinderer of digestion, hence must do harm, rather than good, to the mother in search of added nourishment for her babe.
Dr. Condi says:—
"The only drink of the nurse should be water or milk. All fermented and distilled liquors, as well as strong tea and coffee, she should strictly abstain from. Never was there a more absurd or pernicious notion than that wine, ale or porter is necessary to a nursing mother in order to keep up her strength, or to increase the quantity, and improve the properties of her milk. So far from producing these effects, such drinks, when taken in any quantity, invariably disturb more or less the health of the stomach, and tend to impair the quality, and diminish the quantity, of nourishment furnished by her to her infant."
Dr. William Hargreaves says:—
"Every farmer knows that all a healthy cow requires to give good milk and butter is, to give her good feed, and pure water; and he also knows that the way to make a cow give poor watery milk, which they might churn until doomsday without obtaining butter, is to feed her on distillery slops, or grains from the brewery. It is also well known that cheese cannot be made from such milk, it being deficient in curd, or casein.
"Alcohol is not only useless but injurious; for children whose mothers try to keep themselves upon beer, etc., very frequently suffer from vomiting and diarrhoea, and often from convulsions. Sometimes a single glass of whisky, taken by the mother, will produce sickness and indigestion in the child, for twenty-four hours after.
"In the milk of a healthy woman the water ranges from 879 to 905 parts in 1,000. The oily substance ranges from 25 to 42; casein from 15 to 39; sugar of milk from 31 to 45, and the salts from 1 to 4 parts in 1,000.
"Alcoholic drinks materially alter these proportions, for, on the analysis of the milk of the same woman, a few hours before and after the use of a pint of beer, it was found that the alcohol increases the proportion of the water, and diminishes that of casein; and that alcohol is very perceptible in it."
"The only rational way to be adopted by mothers to increase the supply of nutrition for their infants, is to secure plenty of suitable nutritious food, prepared in the way that will most fit it for digestion, while they at the same time, avoid as far as possible all fatigue, and mental excitement. It is impossible that alcoholic beverages can add anything to the nutrition of either the infant or mother."—Dr. Bussey, in Stimulants for Nursing Mothers.
Dr. E. G. Figg, in The Physiological Operation of Alcohol, gives the analyses of the milk of a temperate woman in good health, and of a drinking woman as follows:—
Milk of temperate mother. Milk of drinking mother.
Salts, " " 8.50 Salts, " " 5.50 Casein, " " 3.0 Casein, " " 2.0 Oil, " " 7.50 Oil, " " 6.5 Water, " " 81.0 Water, " " 84.0 Alcohol, " " 2.0 ——— ——— 100.00 100.00
Dr. Edward Smith says in his Practical Dietary:—
"Alcoholics are largely used by many women in the belief that they support the system, and maintain the supply of milk for the infant; but I am convinced that this is a serious error, and is not an infrequent cause of fits and emaciation in the child."
Dr. James Edmunds, of the Lying-In Hospital, London, Eng., says in Diet for Nursing Mothers:—
"The nursing mother is peculiarly placed, in that she has to provide a supply of nutriment for the child which is dependent upon her, as well as for the ordinary requirements of her own system. The nutrition of the child is to be provided for upon the same principles, and by the same food-elements, as is the nutrition of the mother, the only difference being that the young child is possessed of less perfect masticatory and digestive powers, and therefore requires food to be presented to it in a state more simple, uniform, and readily assimilable than the adult, who is furnished with strong teeth, and possessed of a fully-grown stomach. The mastication, digestion, and primary assimilation of the nursing infant's food is thrown upon the mother's organs; but the tissues of the child are nourished precisely as are the tissues of the mother, and a nursing mother requires simply to digest a larger supply of wholesome, and appropriate food. As a matter of course mothers with imperfect teeth, or weak stomachs, cannot perform the digestion of extra food for the infant so well as those mothers who have an abundance of reserve power in their digestive apparatus; and with such patients, the question arises, how are they to make up for the deficiency which they soon experience in the supply of milk? Such mothers appeal to their medical advisers to prescribe some stimulant which will enable them to overcome the difficulty which they experience, and often are greatly dissatisfied if informed that there is no drug in the materia medica which will make up for structural weakness in the organs which masticate, digest or assimilate the food. The proper course for such women to adopt is a simple and rational one. They should assist their digestive apparatus as much as possible by securing an abundance of suitable and nutritious food, prepared in the best way, and as is most digestible, while they should lessen the demands of their own system by the avoidance of bodily fatigue, and mental excitement. These means, aided by that philosophical hygiene which is at all times essential to the preservation of pure and perfect health, will enable them to supply a maximum quantity of pure and wholesome milk; and further calls by the child require proper artificial food. Unfortunately such advice fails to satisfy many anxious mothers who refuse to admit, or believe, that they are less robust, or less capable, than other ladies of their acquaintance, and such mothers fall easy victims to circulars vaunting the nourishing properties of 'Hoare's Stout,' 'Tanqueray's Gin,' or Gilbey's 'strengthening Port,' circulars which are always backed up by the example, and advice, of lady friends, who themselves have acquired the habit of using these liquors, and who view as a reproach to themselves the practice of any other lady who may not keep them in countenance, as the perfection of all moral and physical propriety. Unfortunately the pressure of such lady friends is often so persistent as to paralyse the influence of a conscientious and thoughtful medical adviser, while the appetites and beliefs of such friends often throw them into active antagonism to any medical adviser, who may not endorse the habits in which, as they believe, and no doubt conscientiously, duty to their child requires them to indulge. The only course that a medical practitioner, whose family is dependent upon his practice, can safely take with veteran mothers on this question, is to let them have their own way without reiterated admonition. When once they have acquired the habit of depending upon large quantities of beer for nursing their children, they become perfectly infatuated, and are practically incapable of passing through the probationary fortnight which takes place before the digestive apparatus can work under its natural, but to them strange, conditions, while the temporary longing for beer, and the sudden lessening of the quantity of milk afforded by their strained and impoverished systems, are at once set down as clear proofs that their medical adviser is a crochetty, and dangerous person, who must be superseded at the first convenient opportunity. Facts and arguments have no more influence on such mothers than they have upon opium-eaters, drunkards, or inveterate consumers of tobacco; while the extreme propriety of conduct which these ladies manifest, and the encouragement they receive from other medical men, make the convictions based upon their own personal sensations incontrovertible, and their position practically unassailable. I think I might fairly say that among the comfortable middle classes of society the views at present held on this question are so deplorable that a large proportion of children are never sober from the first moment of their existence until they have been weaned; while often after a few years the use of alcohol is again introduced to the children as a 'medical comfort,' as a part of their regular diet, or as an invariable accompaniment of all their juvenile visitation, and company-keeping. Under such circumstances, it is not surprising that temperance reformers appeal in vain on this question, and that their facts and arguments are viewed with plausible indifference, or insidious opposition, by persons whose appetites and instincts have been undergoing debasement, and perversion from the very dawn of their lives. My own deliberate conviction is that nothing but harm comes to nursing mothers, and to the infants who are dependent upon them, by the ordinary use of alcoholic beverages of any kind.
"Infants nursed by mothers who drink much beer also become fatter than usual, and to an untrained eye sometimes appear as 'magnificent children.' But the fatness of such children is not a recommendation to the more knowing observer; they are extremely prone to die of inflammation of the chest (bronchitis) after a few days' illness from an ordinary cold. They die, very much more frequently than other children, of convulsions and diarrhoea, while cutting their teeth, and they are very liable to die of scrofulous inflammation of the membranes of the brain, commonly called 'water on the brain,' while their childhood often presents a painful contrast—in the way of crooked legs, and stunted or ill-shapen figure—to the 'magnificent,' and promising appearance of their infancy.
"Those ladies who adopt the general views I have thus expressed in relation to the nursing of their children, will want to know what is the 'proper artificial food' with which to supplement their milk when it is deficient in quantity. With some patients the milk will fall off in quantity at the end of two or three months. With others, although the quantity may not fall off, the child seems unsatisfied; and there is a third class with whom a profusion of milk is supplied, and the child thrives exceedingly, but the mother gets flabby, weak, nervous, pale and exhausted. In the last case, the mother is simply goaded on by susceptibility of her nervous system, or by inordinate activity of the breasts to yield an amount of milk which her digestive powers are not equal to providing for. The treatment of such cases should be simply repressive. The mother should separate herself somewhat more from the child, and make a rule of only nursing it from five to eight times in the twenty-four hours, while the neck of the mother should be kept cool in regard to dress, and cold sponging may be practiced carefully night and morning. Her attention should be diverted by outdoor exercise on foot, and additionally in a carriage if necessary. When the mother's milk, though apparently not deficient in quantity, proves unsatisfying to the child, great attention should be paid to varying the diet of the mother, while such staple foods should be taken as are most easily and thoroughly assimilated into milk. The unsatisfying quality of the milk will generally be remedied by taking a more varied diet, together with three or four half pints of milk in the course of the day, accompanied with farinaceous matter, as in the shape of well-made milk gruel; and in case these measures fail, the only alternative is to supplement the mother's milk by obtaining a wet-nurse to suckle the child three or four times a day alternately with the mother, or by feeding the child with proper artificial food. The same measures may be resorted to where the milk, though satisfying in character, is deficient in quantity; and in preparing artificial food for the child it must always be remembered that the food requires to be adapted to the stage of development which is manifested by a young infant's digestive organs. The infant's digestive apparatus is, in fact, designed to digest milk, and to digest nothing else, but when the teeth are cut farinaceous matter of a more or less solid character should be gradually mixed with the milk. Almost all the illnesses of infants under twelve months of age are caused by some gross impropriety of diet, or otherwise, on the part of the mother, for which the child suffers through the medium of the milk, or they are caused by feeding the child with improper artificial food. Thick sop, and many other articles often given as food are as indigestible to an infant of three months old as beefsteaks would be to a horse; and, until the child has cut its teeth, it should have nothing but food resembling the mother's milk as closely as possible.
"The proper way to feed an infant of three months old, whose mother is only able to partially support it, is as follows: When the child wakes in the morning it should not go to the mother, but should be taken away by the nurse, and immediately fed from the bottle, sucking its milk through a suitable teat. After the mother has breakfasted the child may go to the breast, and during the day it should be alternately fed from the bottle, and nursed by the mother. At six o'clock the baby should invariably be placed in its crib, by the side of the mother's bed, and fed just before going to sleep, and the habit of going to bed at six o'clock should be strictly and invariably enforced. If once the child be allowed to come down to the family circle after dark, the habit of going to sleep will be broken, and the child will continuously cry to come down. In the course of the evening the mother may nurse the child once, and at ten or eleven o'clock, when the mother goes to bed, the child should be again fed from the bottle, and the mother should have a basin of well-made milk-gruel; and by her bedside should be placed, at the last moment, as much gruel as she is likely to drink with relish during the night. Whenever the child is restless it should be taken out of its crib, gently, by the mother, and nursed, say two or three times during the night, and put back again into its crib, the child never being allowed to sleep with the mother. When the night is fairly over, and the child awakens, it should be fetched by the nurse, and have its first morning meal from the bottle. This plan of feeding should be persisted in continuously until the child has cut its teeth; and it is only when every means have been taken to ensure the sweetness, freshness and niceness, not only of the milk and water, but of the bottle and of the teat, and the child still fails to get on, that, in rare cases, I advise the admixture of a little farinaceous matter, in the way of food containing one part milk, and two parts of properly sweetened barley-water. As the milk teeth come through, other farinaceous matter may be gradually blended with the milk, and there is nothing better than to begin at about eight months with a teaspoonful of baked flour, well boiled in a pint of milk and water, or in the water, to be afterwards cooled with milk. Oftentimes a little salt, as well as sugar, will materially help its digestion. The child will do well on that food—the quantity being duly increased—until it has cut almost all its milk teeth, when it may eat bread and butter, rice, and egg puddings, and occasionally eat a boiled egg once a day. I believe that it is a great mistake to give red flesh meat to children in their early years, unless there be some very special reason for it, and then it should only be temporarily used; but nice potatoes, flavored with fresh gravy from a joint, may be given at dinner, as the child becomes able to feed itself. * * * * *
"Bear in mind that when you take wine, beer or brandy, you are distilling that wine, beer or brandy into your child's body. Probably nothing could be worse than to have the very fabric of the child's tissues laid down from alcoholized blood."
Another English physician deplores "the pernicious habit of drinking large quantities of ale or stout by nursing mothers, under the idea that they thereby increase and improve the secretion of milk, whereas they are in reality deteriorating the quality of that upon which the infant must depend for health and life."
Dr. Edis says:—
"Infant mortality is mainly due to two causes, the substitution of farinaceous food for milk, and the delusion that ale or beer is necessary as an article of diet for nursing mothers. * * * * * Countless disorders among infants are due simply and solely to the popular fallacy, that the nursing mother cannot properly fulfil her duties, unless she resorts to the aid of alcoholics."
Dr. N. S. Davis says:—
"The opinion prevails quite extensively among certain classes of people, and with some physicians, that a liberal use of beer is beneficial to women while nursing their children. They drink it under the impression that it will both strengthen them and make their milk more abundant. But I have never seen a case in which it had been used regularly for any considerable period of time, where it did not result in more or less indigestion from gastric irritation and disordered secretions, and an early failure in the secretion of milk. It probably never increases the flow of milk any more than would the drinking of the same quantity of pure water; while the alcohol it contains, by daily repetition, induces congestion of the gastric mucous membrane, with disordered gastric and hepatic secretions.
"A case strikingly illustrating these results was examined by me to-day. The patient was a young married woman who was nursing her first child, now nine months old. At the time of her confinement she was in fair health, rather nervous temperament, weight 120 pounds. During the first few days her milk did not flow very freely, and she says her physician advised her to drink beer. Consequently she commenced to drink a glass of beer at each mealtime, and a bottle during the night. During the first six months she had sufficient milk for her baby; but before the end of that time she had begun to suffer from flatulency, constipation, gaseous and acid eructations, what she calls 'heart-burn,' and sometimes vomiting. During the last three months she has suffered, in addition to the preceding symptoms, one or two attacks each week of extreme pain, from the lower point of the sternum to the back between the scapula, accompanied by retching, or severe efforts to vomit. To relieve these attacks she has taken liberal doses of gin, in addition to her regular supply of beer. Now at the end of nine months, her milk has nearly ceased to flow, her bowels are costive, her stomach tolerates only small quantities of the simplest nourishment, her flesh and strength are very much reduced, her weight being only 96 pounds; and yet she thinks both the beer and gin make her feel better every time she takes them. Such is the delusive power of the anaesthetic effect of alcohol. A persistence in the same management would probably terminate fatally in from six to twelve months more, from chronic gastritis, and inanition. But if she will rigidly abstain from all alcoholic remedies, and take only the most bland, unirritating nourishment, aided by mildly soothing and antiseptic remedies, and fresh air, she will slowly recover."
In a clinical lecture delivered before the Senior Class in the Northwestern University Medical School, Dr. Davis told of a case similar to the preceding:—
"The flow of milk in her breasts has also diminished to such a degree that she does not have half enough for her baby. Yet she says the beer makes her feel better after each drink, and that the gin helps to relieve the severe attacks of pain, and consequently she thinks she could not do without them. It is undoubtedly true that the patient feels temporary relief from the anaesthetic effect of the alcohol in her beer and gin, just as she would from any anaesthetic or narcotic. And it is equally true that so long as the alcohol is present in her blood it so modifies the hemoglobin and albuminous constituents, as to diminish the reception and internal distribution of oxygen, and thereby retards metabolic changes. But the combined influence of the alcohol in retarding the internal distribution of oxygen and the drain upon the nutritive elements of her blood, in furnishing milk for her baby, led to rapid impoverishment of the blood and tissues, and the early establishment of a sufficient grade of gastritis to cause indigestion, frequent vomiting, and, later, paroxysms of severe gastralgia, with general emaciation, and loss of strength.
"In accordance with the present popular ideas, both in and out of the profession, this patient tells me she has tried a great variety of foods, peptonized, sterilized, and predigested, but all to no purpose. And why?—Simply because her troubles are not in the kind of food she takes, but in the morbid condition of her blood, and of the mucous membrane and nerves of her stomach. Consequently the rational indications for treatment are: (a) to get her stomach and blood free from the alcohol of beer and gin; (b) to encourage the reception and internal distribution of oxygen by plenty of fresh air; (c) to give her the most bland, or unirritating food in small, and frequently repeated doses, of which good milk with lime-water, and milk and wheat-flour gruel are the best; (d) such medicines as possess sufficient antiseptic, and anodyne properties to allay the irritability of the gastric mucous membrane, and lessen fermentation."
COMPARATIVE DEATH-RATES WITH AND WITHOUT THE USE OF ALCOHOL AS A REMEDY.
A study of statistics relating to the difference in results of the treatment of disease with and without the use of alcohol, cannot but be of great interest to all students of the alcohol question. The appended statistics are culled mainly from the Medical Pioneer of England, now, Medical Temperance Review, the journal of the British Medical Temperance Association, and from the Bulletin of the American Medical Temperance Association.
A paragraph in the British Medical Journal, for Dec. 2, 1893, says:—
"An interesting fact has been noted by Dr. Claye Shaw, at the London County Asylum, Banstead, for the Insane. Since the withdrawal of beer from the dietary, the rate of recovery has gone up. During the past year, for example, the recoveries reached 46.97 per cent. Nearly one half of the patients had thus recovered during the period stated. The inmates take their food better without the liquor, and they are thus taught that intoxicants are not a necessity of ordinary health."
In the Medical Pioneer for January, 1894, Dr. John Mois, medical superintendent of West Haven Infectious Diseases Hospital, states that prior to 1885 he had treated 2,148 cases of smallpox "in the usual routine method, with the use of alcohol when the heart's action seemed to indicate it;" resulting in a mortality of 17 per cent. But since 1885 he has treated 700 additional cases under similar circumstances except that the use of alcoholic preparations was entirely omitted, and the resulting mortality was only 11 per cent.
In the same journal, Dr. J. J. Ridge states that he had treated the 200 cases of scarlet fever admitted into the Enfield Isolation Hospital during the years 1892 and 1893, without alcohol in any form, with a mortality of only 2.5 per cent.; while the mortality in the hospitals under the Metropolitan Asylums Board in 1893, in which alcohol was used in accordance with the usual practice in scarlet fever, was 6.3 per cent.
Dr. J. J. Ridge says later:—
"In January, 1894, I published the result of the treatment of the first 200 cases of scarlatina admitted into the temporary wards of the Enfield Isolation Hospital during 1892 and 1893. I stated that there had been five fatal cases, but that one was dying when admitted and only lived a few hours. The mortality was 2 per cent., or 2.5 if the later case is included.
"Since then 300 more cases have been admitted and discharged and among these there have been 7 fatal. Hence there have been 14 deaths in 500 consecutive cases extending over a period of a little more than four years. One of these ought to be excluded, no time having been given for treatment. Hence the mortality has been just 2.6 per cent. This, I think it will be admitted, is a low mortality, although it is possible it may be even lower when the cases are treated in a permanent hospital about to be erected.
"It may be interesting to state that 4 of the cases died on the third day after admission; 1 on the fourth; 1 on the sixth; 1 on the tenth, with pneumonia; 1 on the thirteenth; 1 on the fifteenth; 1 on the sixteenth; 1 on the eighteenth; 1 on the thirty-sixth, with nephritis and pleuropneumonia; and 1 on the forty-sixth, with otitis and meningitis.
"All the cases have been treated without alcohol either as food or drug, although many have been of great severity with various complications. It is certain that the absence of alcohol has not been detrimental, since the mortality is less than three-fourths of that of the mortality among all notified cases in England and Wales. I am bound to say that it is my firm conviction that had alcohol been given in the usual fashion, the death-rate would have been higher. Cases have been admitted to which alcohol has been given previous to admission, apparently with harm, as they have improved without it. One case was particularly noticeable in this respect. A child, aged 6, had had a good deal of whisky, and was supposed to be dying when admitted on the fourth day of the disease, so that the doctor who had seen it was surprised, when he called the following day to inquire, to find it was still alive. Without a drop of alcohol it began to improve and made a good recovery. I may say that delirium is very rare, even in the worst cases treated non-alcoholically."
Dr. Norman Kerr says:—
"In my paper on 'The Medical Administration of Alcohol,' read to the section of medicine at the Sheffield meeting in 1876, I cited several medical testimonies in favor of non-alcoholic treatment of fevers, notably that of my friend, the late Dr. Simon Nicolls, who had a mortality of less than 5 per cent. in 230 cases.
"The record of the results of a greatly lessened administration of alcohol in the treatment of smallpox in the London hospital ships, is of deep interest. Having been requested to inquire into the effects of this diminished alcoholic stimulation on mortality and convalescence, Dr. Birdwood stated that though the gravity of the cases had increased, with a mortality of 15 per 100 in the metropolis, the ship's death-rate had remained at less than 7 per 100. Convalescence had been more rapid, and there had been fewer and less serious complications from abscesses and inflammatory boils. Other causes had contributed to this improvement, but the medical officers attributed a considerable share in the amelioration to a greatly diminished prescription of alcohol."
The Medical Pioneer says:—
"In 1872 there appeared in the Saturday Review an article in which the medical practitioners of this country were accused of inciting their patients to free drinking, and in the discussion which this article called forth, Dr. Gairdner, of Glasgow, said that fever patients in that city, when treated with milk and without alcohol, did much better than those reported as having been treated by Dr. Todd with large doses of alcohol; the latter resulting in a mortality of about 25 per cent., while those treated by Dr. Gairdner with milk had had a death-rate of only 12 per cent. About this time the British Medical Temperance Association was founded, owing to the exertions of Dr. Ridge, of Enfield, and in 1876 it was enrolled, under the presidency of Sir B. W. Richardson. It now contains 269 members in England and Wales, 53 in Scotland and 80 in Ireland, or more than 400 altogether, all professional men and women. This, I think, is but a sign of the change of opinion on the use of alcoholic fluids in medical practice, for all who remember what medical practice was in London thirty years ago know that the use of wine and brandy in hospital practice was so common that it was quite a rarity in some hospitals to find a patient who was not ordered, by some of the staff, from three to four ounces of brandy or six to eight fluid ounces of wine. The expense caused to the hospitals by this practice was, of course, great, and increased notably between 1852 and 1872, owing to the prevalence of the views of Liebig and his follower, Dr. Todd. The writings of Parkes, Gairdner, Dr. Norman Kerr and of Sir B. Ward Richardson, Dr. Morton and others, gradually lessened this predilection for treating diseases by alcohol, and accordingly between 1872 and 1882 a great change came over the practice of London hospitals. Thus the sum paid for milk in 1852 in Saint Bartholomew's Hospital was L684, and in 1882 it was L2,012; whilst alcohol in that hospital cost in 1852, L406; in 1862, L1,446; in 1872, L1,446; and in 1882 only L653. Westminster Hospital in 1882 spent L137 on alcohol and L500 on milk. One hospital, St. George's, long continued to use large quantities of alcohol. That hospital in 1872 had the high mortality among its typhoid fever patients of 24 per cent., which was twice as high as that noted by Dr. Gairdner as occurring in Glasgow, when alcohol was abandoned and milk used instead. Dr. Meyer, who reported these cases of typhoid treated in Saint George's Hospital at that time, mentioned that alcohol in large doses was given to 87 per cent. of the patients. Three-fifths of these patients took daily eight ounces of brandy when there was danger of sinking from failure of the heart's action. One-fourth of the number took sixteen fluid ounces of brandy in the 24 hours."
"In 230 typhoid cases in St. Mary's Hospital, Dr. Chambers reduced the ratio of deaths from 1 in 5 with alcohol to 1 in 40 without it. Dr. Perry, of Glasgow, found that of 534 cases treated with alcohol, 138 died, while of 491 treated without alcohol, only 9 died."
In a recent text-book on medicine occurs the following:—
"English physicians use spirits in fevers, and all experience sustains the conviction that no substitute has been found for them."
In a late number of the Temperance Record, Dr. Smith gives a different view of the experience of English physicians:—
"When Bentley Todd was at King's College, and leading his profession, brandy was the rule in febrile cases. Then the mortality varied from twenty-five to thirty-five per cent. That the treatment was as fatal as the disease, experience demonstrates:—
"1. Professor W. T. Gairdner, of Glasgow, writing to the Lancet (1864), gave his experience as follows:—
Fever cases Average of treated. wine and spirits. Mortality.
1,829 34 oz. to each 17.69 per cent. 595 2-1/2 oz. to each 11.93 per cent. 212 none 1 death only. (young lives)
"These were mostly typhus cases, but the rationale, so far as alcohol is concerned, is the same as in typhoid.
"2. At the British Medical Association in 1879, Professor H. MacNaughton Jones gave particulars of 340 cases of typhus, typhoid and simple fever. I append a summary:—
Cases. Deaths. Mortality per cent.
Given brandy 58 19 32.7 Given claret 51 2 3.8 Given no alcohol 231 4 1.7
"3. Dr. J. C. Pearson writes to the Lancet (Dec. 5 and 26, 1891), giving his experience of typhoid. He had treated several hundreds of cases without a single death, and never prescribed stimulants in any shape or form in the disease.
"4. Dr. Knox Bond writes to the Lancet (Nov. 25, 1893), giving his experience of typhoid at the Liverpool Fever Hospital. He says: 'As a resident for some years in the fever hospitals, my views of the value of alcohol in fever underwent, solely as a result of the experience there gained, entire modification. The conviction became forced upon my mind that in no case in which it was used did benefit to the patient ensue; that in a proportion of cases its use was distinctly hurtful; and that in a small but appreciable number of cases the resultant harm was sufficient to tilt the balance as against the recovery of the patient.'
"In plain terms, alcohol tended to the destruction of the patients. Dr. Bond's figures are:—
No. of cases. No. of deaths.
Given alcohol 71 18 Given no alcohol 309 15 —- —- 380 33
In May, 1890, Dr. Nathan S. Davis, read a paper before the American Medical Association upon the use of certain drugs in disease. Among the drugs mentioned was alcohol, and comparative death-rates were given in typhoid fever and pneumonia, between Mercy Hospital, Chicago, during a term of years when no alcohol was used in the medical wards, Dr. Davis being in charge of them, and some of the large metropolitan hospitals using alcohol. In Mercy Hospital without alcohol, the death-rate in typhoid fever was only five per cent.; in pneumonia only twelve per cent.
"Of 161 cases of typhoid fever treated in Cook County Hospital during 1889, 27 died, or one in six—nearly 17 per cent.
"According to the annual report of the Cincinnati Hospital for 1886, 47 cases of typhoid fever were treated during that year, with seven deaths, a mortality rate of 16 per cent.
"The Garfield Memorial Hospital, at Washington, reported for the year 1889, 22 cases of typhoid fever, with 5 deaths—or 22 per cent.
"In the Pennsylvania Hospital the mortality rate in pneumonia for the years 1884-1886, was 34 per cent.
"The mortality of pneumonia in the Massachusetts General Hospital, between the years 1822 and 1889, comprising 1,000 cases, was 25 per cent.; but a gradual increase in mortality had been noted from 10 per cent. in the first decade of the seventy years represented by this report, to 28 per cent. in the last decade.
"According to the report of the Supervising Surgeon General of the U.S. Marine Hospital Service for 1888, the number of cases of pneumonia treated between 1880 and 1887 was 1,649, with 311 deaths—nearly 19 per cent.
"The Cincinnati Hospital reported for 1886 a mortality rate in pneumonia of 38 per cent.
"The mortality rate in the Cook County Hospital, Chicago, for 1889, according to Dr. Heltoin, relating to 80 cases of pneumonia, was 36 per cent."
Only a five per cent. death-rate in typhoid fever without alcohol, and from sixteen to twenty-two per cent. with alcohol; only a twelve per cent. death-rate in pneumonia without alcohol, and from 19 to as high as 38 per cent. with alcohol. Such are the comparative death-rates given by Dr. Davis. They should be committed to memory by every opposer of the use of alcohol, as they show clearly that people have many more chances for recovery, other things being equal, in the diseases mentioned, if alcohol is not used than if it is.
It is worthy of mention in this connection that Cook County Hospital contains in its report for 1897 the following items: Number of patients 19,536; cost of liquors $80.00; per cent. of deaths from all causes, 5.7. The cost of liquors is only .004 for each patient. This shows a decided advance in the disuse of alcohol, when so very little is used in a great hospital, with so large a number of patients.
Dr. A. L. Loomis, in the treatment of 600 typhus fever cases on Blackwell's Island in 1864, excluded alcoholics, with the result of reducing the mortality rate to only six per cent. whereas it had previously been twenty-two per cent., in Bellevue Hospital from which the patients had been removed.
In Battle Creek Sanitarium no alcohol is used in any disease, simply because the management believe better results are obtained by the use of other agencies. In the October, (1893) number of the American Medical Temperance Quarterly now Bulletin of the A. M. T. A., Dr. J. H. Kellogg gives statistics of deaths from various diseases in the Battle Creek Sanitarium. The total of these statistics is as follows: la grippe, 827 cases, 4 deaths—or two per cent.; scarlet fever, 83 cases, 2 deaths—less than three per cent.; 333 cases of typhoid fever, 9 deaths—or 2.7 per cent.; 82 cases of pneumonia, 4 deaths—or 4.9 per cent. These exceptional results are not attributed solely to the non-use of alcohol. The nursing and surroundings were of the best. But these results certainly show that the use of alcohol as a remedy in acute diseases is not necessary, and that patients have a much better chance for life, other things being equal, where alcohol is not used than where it is.
Dr. Kellogg says of the surgical cases:—
"In a hospital of 100 beds, connected with the institution, more than 3,000 surgical cases have been treated, to whom alcohol has never been administered except in connection with chloroform anaesthesia; my uniform custom being to administer an ounce of brandy or whisky five minutes before beginning the administration of the anaesthetic, when chloroform is used.
"The surgical cases include more than 300 cases of ovariotomy, and over 300 other cases involving the peritoneal cavity, such as operations for strangulated hernia, the radical cure of hernia, etc. The statistics of death and recoveries are certainly as good as can be produced by any hospital in the world, dealing with the same class of cases. The total mortality from the operation of ovariotomy, including nearly 300 cases, is less than three per cent., and for the last few years, in which the antiseptic measures have been perfected, the record is still better, showing a succession of 172 cases of laparotomy for the removal of ovarian tumors, or diseased uterus and ovaries, without a death. These cases include a number of hysterectomies, and many cases so desperate that those who trust in alcohol as a heart stimulant, and as a means of supporting the vital energies, would certainly have considered it necessary to resort to the use of this drug. Nevertheless, it was not administered in a single case, and I have seen no reason to regret its non-use in a single instance."
Dr. T. D. Crothers, of Hartford, Conn., tells the following:—
"In a large hospital a study of the mortality of pneumonia indicated a greater fatality at intervals of six months. There were five per cent. more deaths during periods of two months at a time, twice during the year. This extended back for two years, and was finally narrowed down to the service of an eminent physician who gave spirits freely in all cases of pneumonia from their entrance to the hospital. The other visiting physicians gave very little spirits, and only in the later stages. The physician was skeptical of these statistics, but finally consented to test them by giving up spirits practically in all cases of pneumonia. This was continued for a year, and the mortality went back to the average statistics. That physician has abandoned alcohol as a food and a medicine, only in very limited degree. He writes, 'My stupidity in accepting theories and statements of others, concerning spirits, which I could have tested personally, is a source of deep sorrow, and I do not know but it could be called criminal. I certainly feel that punishment would be just.'"
Brandy has been considered the great necessity in cholera, yet the use of it and other alcoholics are known to expose people to greater danger when this disease prevails.
The Bulletin of the A. M. T. A. is authority for the following:—
"During the epidemic of 1832, Dr. Bronson said: 'In Montreal 1,000 persons have died of cholera, only two of whom were teetotalers.' A Montreal paper said: 'Not a drunkard who has been attacked has recovered from the disease, and almost all the victims have been at least moderate drinkers.'
"In Albany, N. Y., the same year, cholera carried off 366 persons above sixteen years of age, all but four of whom belonged to the drinking classes. Packer, Prentice & Co., large furriers in Albany, employed 400 persons, none of whom used ardent spirits, and there were only two cases of cholera among them. Mr. Delevan, a contractor, said: 'I was engaged at the time in erecting a large block of buildings. The laborers were much alarmed, and were on the point of abandoning the work. They were advised to stay and give up strong drink. They all remained, and all quit the use of strong drink except one, and he fell a victim to the disease.' He says also: 'I had a gang of diggers in a clay bank, to whom the same proposition was made; they all agreed to it, and not one died. On the opposite side of the same clay bank were other diggers who continued their regular rations of whisky, and one third of them died.'
"In New York City there were 204 cases in the park, only six of whom were temperate, and these recovered, while 122 of the others died. In many parts of the city the saloon keepers saw and acknowledged the terrible connection between their business and the spread of the disease, and, becoming alarmed for their own safety, shut up their saloons and fled, saying: 'The way from the saloon to hell is too short.'
"In Washington the Board of Health was so impressed with the terrible facts that they declared the grog shops nuisances, ordered them closed, and they remained closed for three months.
"A prominent physician of Glasgow reported: 'Only nineteen per cent. of the temperate perished, while ninety-one and two-tenths per cent. of the intemperate died.' One extensive liquor dealer of Glasgow, said, 'Cholera has carried off half of my customers.'
"In Warsaw ninety per cent. of those who died from cholera were wine drinkers.
"At Tifels, Prussia, a town of 20,000 inhabitants, every drunkard died of cholera."
The St. Paul Medical Journal, of September, 1899, gives the following report of a railway surgeon, Dr. Kane:—
"From June 1, 1898, to June 1, 1899, the author performed a few more than four hundred operations. Forty-nine abdominal sections, fifty odd more operations of a graver sort, one hundred miscellaneous of less gravity than above, over one hundred operations upon female perineum and uterus. Of the four hundred, more than three hundred demanded anaesthesia. There were but three deaths, making the mortality a little less than one per cent.
"The author does not claim a phenomenally low mortality, nor does he claim specially brilliant results. He has to contend with unreasoning fear on the part of the patients for hospital surgeons, and also most of his cases had been in the hands of quacks, and had subjected themselves to remedies prescribed by old women. Many cases came after the family physician had exhausted his resources. He thinks his results are considerably better than the average in hospitals and in country districts. Alcohol medication was dispensed with entirely after the patients came under his care, and to this he attributes much of his success. He does not believe that alcohol is a stimulant, or a tonic. On the contrary, he believes that it retards digestion, arrests secretion, and hinders excretion. The courage and fortitude of his patients were lessened instead of increased by the use of alcoholic medication.
"Pain is better borne, endured longer and more patiently when alcohol is not used.
"He urges the practical surgeon to carefully weigh the subject of alcohol, and verify for himself the expediency of its use."
Dr. B. W. Richardson in the report of his practice for 1895 in the London Temperance Hospital refers to non-alcoholic treatment of rheumatism. He said:—
"Out of seventy-one cases of acute or subacute rheumatism—the large majority acute, and attended with temperatures moving up to 104 deg. F.—sixty-nine recovered, and two, although they were discharged without being put on the recovery list, were so far relieved that a few days' change in country air seemed all that was required to induce full restoration. Comparing the experience of the treatment of acute rheumatic disease without alcohol with that which I have previously observed with alcohol, I can have no hesitation in declaring that it is of the greatest advantage to follow total abstinence absolutely in this disease. The pain and swelling of joints is more quickly relieved under abstinence, the fever falls more rapidly, there is less frequent relapse, and there is quicker recovery. In brief, the experience of treatment of rheumatic fever minus alcohol, presents to me as much novelty as it does pleasure, and I am convinced that if any candid member of the profession could have witnessed what I have witnessed in this matter, he would agree with me that alcohol in rheumatic fever, however acute, is altogether out of place. I am also under the conviction, though I express it with great reserve, that in acute rheumatism, treated without alcohol, the cardiac complications, endocardial and pericardial, are much less frequently developed than where alcohol is supplied."
Dr. Pechuman in Alcohol—Is It a Medicine, published in 1891, says:—
"There is no disputing that many deaths occur each day as the result of the administration of alcohol in acute diseases, to say nothing of the deaths caused by its habitual use; and those who give it ignore the very fundamental principles of physiology and the many published statistics. The Boston Hospital report tells a sad story in this connection; it shows that out of 1,042 cases treated with alcoholics 386 died, while out of the same number treated without alcohol only 81 died. Using plain English 305 were actually killed by it."
Dr. T. D. Crothers, in the January, 1899, Bulletin of the American Medical Temperance Association, gave the following Hospital Statistics, showing a decline in the use of spirits in hospitals:—
"Evidently a great change is going on in the use of alcohol as a remedy in large hospitals. The annual reports of ten hospitals in the New England and the Middle States show the following widely varying figures. The spirits used include beers, wines, whiskies and brandies, and vary from eleven to sixty-one cents a person for all the cases treated. These hospitals treat from eighty to seven hundred cases a year, both surgical and medical, and the medical staff are the leading physicians of the towns and cities where they are located. The hospital where the largest amount of spirits was used is not different from others, nor is the one where the lowest amount is reported. The conclusion is that this difference is due entirely to the judgment of the medical men. The lowest rate (eleven cents each) was in a hospital where one hundred and twenty-one cases had been under treatment. The highest rate (sixty-one cents) was in a hospital of five hundred and forty cases. The mortality from typhoid fever and pneumonia was eight per cent. higher in this hospital than in the one where only eleven cents a head had been expended for spirits. The general mortality did not vary greatly in any of these hospitals, and the records of one year could not be expected to show this. In the remaining hospitals the mortality of the fever and the septic cases was about the same. The free use of spirits did not show any improvement, but rather an increase of the death-rate, while the same amount of spirits used showed but little change, and that in the line of improvement of death-rate. These are only the figures of one year, but they indicate a change of practice, and show the passing of alcohol as a remedy."
REASONS WHY ALCOHOL IS DANGEROUS AS MEDICINE.
In the chapter upon "The Effects of Alcohol upon the Human Body" are cited some of the reasons assigned by scientific investigators for their disuse of alcohol as a remedy in disease. In this chapter the same may be briefly hinted at, while others, some the results of quite recent research, will be added.
In the Bulletin of the A. M. T. A., for January 1898, Dr. N. S. Davis says:—
"The supposed effects of alcohol as a medicine were originally based solely on the sensations and actions of the patients taking it. The first appreciable effect of the alcohol after entering the blood is that of an anaesthetic; that is, it diminishes the sensibility of the brain and nerve structures, in the same direction as ether and chloroform. And, as the brain is the material seat of man's consciousness, the alcohol renders him less conscious of cold or heat, of weariness or pain, and less conscious of his own weight or of any external resistance. Consequently, when under the influence of small doses, he feels lighter and less conscious of any external impressions, and thinks he could do more than without it. It was these effects that led both the patient and his physician to regard the alcohol as a general stimulant or tonic, notwithstanding the fact that by simply increasing the doses of alcohol the sensibility soon became entirely suspended, and the patient helpless and altogether unconscious. * * * * *
"Simple increased frequency of the heart action is no evidence of either increased force or efficiency in promoting the circulation of the blood. Indeed, it may be stated as a physiological law, that the more frequent the heart action above the normal standard, the less efficiently does it promote the circulation and strength of the living system. But the effect of a moderate dose of alcohol in increasing the frequency of the heart-beat and of blood pressure is so temporary that the doses must be repeated so often that the alcohol accumulates in the blood and tissues, and extends its paralyzing effects to all the vasomotor, cardiac and respiratory nerves. Indeed, all the investigators agree that alcohol in any dose capable of producing an appreciable effect, diminishes the function of the lungs in direct proportion to the quantity taken; and as the lungs are the only channel through which free oxygen reaches the blood, and such oxygen is the natural exciter of all vital activities in the living body, it is not possible to explain how alcohol, or any other drug that diminishes the function of the lungs can, at the same time, act as a cardiac, or any other kind of tonic.
"The truth is that all intelligent physicians and writers on therapeutics of the present day agree in stating that alcohol in large doses directly diminishes all the vital processes in the living body, and in still larger doses suspends the life of the individual by paralyzing the cerebral, vasomotor, respiratory and cardiac functions, generally in the order named. If large doses produce such effects, we must logically claim that small doses act in the same direction, but in less degree. In other words, alcohol is as truly and exclusively an anaesthetic as is ether or chloroform, and, like them, is to be used as a medicine only temporarily to relieve pain, or suspend nerve sensibility. But as for these purposes it is less efficient than either ether or chloroform, and other narcotics, there is no necessity for using it as a remedy in the treatment of disease. And in health its use in any dose can be productive of nothing but injury. The only legitimate fields for the uses of alcohol are in chemistry, pharmacy and the arts."
In another issue of the same magazine, Dr. Davis writes of the investigations pursued by M. Robin of France in regard to the chemistry of respiration. These investigations, he says, afford conclusive proof that the acts of oxidation are defensive processes of the organism in its struggle with bacteria, and therefore that the physician should favor in every possible way the absorption of oxygen in every infection, especially when there are typhoid complications.
He then speaks of the researches of other scientists in the same line, concluding thus:—
"If we add to the foregoing investigations the results obtained by Dr. A. C. Abbott, demonstrating that the presence of alcohol directly diminished the vital resistance to infections, we cannot fail to see that the administration of alcohol in diphtheria, typhoid fever, pneumonia and other infectious diseases, is directly contraindicated. If, as shown by M. Robin, 'the acts of oxidation are defensive processes' against bacterial infections, then certainly the administration of alcohol to patients with such infections is in the highest degree illogical and injurious. The oxygen being obtained for oxidation purposes in the blood and tissues, through the respiratory process, it would be equally absurd to administer alcohol in all cases in which it is desirable to increase the processes of oxidation, as a long series of experiments has shown that the presence of alcohol diminishes the efficiency of the respiratory process in direct proportion to the quantity used.
"How much longer will practical writers continue to recommend for the same patient on the same day, fresh air, sponge baths, and vasomotor and respiratory tonics to increase the absorption of oxygen and oxidation processes, and alcohol in the form of wine, whisky and brandy to directly diminish the respiratory function and all the oxidations of the living system?"
In his address before the Medical Congress for the Study of Alcohol, held at Prohibition Park, Staten Island, July 15, 1891, Dr. Davis said:—
"If the foregoing views regarding the effects of alcoholic liquids on the human system in health, are correct, what can we say concerning their value as remedies for the treatment of disease? If it be true that the alcohol they contain acts directly upon the corpuscular elements of the blood, and so far diminishes the metabolic processes of nutrition and disintegration as to lessen nerve sensibility and heat production, and favor tissue degenerations, their rational application in the treatment of any form of disease must be very limited. And yet the same errors and delusions concerning their use in the treatment of diseases and accidents are entertained and daily acted upon by a large majority of medical men as are entertained by the non-professional part of the public. Throughout the greater part of our medical literature they are represented as stimulating and restorative, capable of increasing the force and efficiency of the circulation, and of conserving the normal living tissues by diminishing their waste; and hence they are the first to be resorted to in all cases of sudden exhaustion, faintness or shock; the last to be given to the dying; and the most constant remedies through the most important and protracted acute general diseases. Indeed, it is this position and practice of the profession that constitutes, at the present time, the strongest influence in support of all the popular though erroneous and destructive drinking customs of the people.
"The same anaesthetic properties of the alcohol that render the laboring man less conscious of the cold or heat or weariness, also render the sick man less conscious of suffering, either mental or physical, and thereby deceive both him and his physician by the appearance, temporarily, of more comfort. But if administered during the progress of fevers or acute general disease, while it thus quiets the patient's restlessness and lessens his consciousness of suffering, it also directly diminishes the vasomotor and excito-motor nerve forces with slight reduction of temperature, and steadily diminishes both the tissue metabolism and the excretory products, thereby favoring the retention in the system of both the specific causes of disease and the natural excretory materials which should have been eliminated through the skin, lungs, kidneys and other glandular organs. Although the immediate effect of the remedy is thus to give the patient an appearance of more comfort, the continued dulling or anaesthetic effect on the nervous centres, the diminished oxygenation of the blood, and the continued retention of morbitic and excretory products, all serve to protract the disease, increase molecular degeneration, and add to the number of fatal results.
"I am well aware that the foregoing views, founded on the results of numerous and varied experimental researches and well-known physiological laws, and corroborated by a wide clinical experience, are in direct conflict with the very generally accepted doctrine that alcohol is a cardiac tonic, capable of increasing the force and efficiency of the circulation, and therefore of great value in the treatment of the lower grades of general fevers. But there have been many generally accepted doctrines in the history of medicine that have been proved fallacious. And the more recent experiments of Professors Martin, Sidney Ringer, and Sainsbury, Reichert, H. C. Wood and others, have clearly demonstrated that the presence of alcohol in the blood as certainly diminishes the sensibility of the vasomotor and cardiac nerves in proportion to its quantity until the heart stops, paralyzed, as that two and two make four.
"After an ample clinical field of observation in both hospital and private practice for more than fifty years, and a continuous study of our medical literature, I am prepared to maintain the position that the ratio of mortality from all the acute general diseases has increased in direct proportion to the quantity of alcoholic remedies administered during their treatment. How can we reasonably expect any other result from the use of an agent that so directly and uniformly diminishes the cerebral respiratory, cardiac and metabolic functions of the living human body?"
The Medical Pioneer of January, 1896, contained a very interesting article by Dr. J. H. Kellogg upon "The Influence of Alcohol upon Urinary Toxicity, and its Relation to the Medical Use of Alcohol." He gives the results of many of his own experiments to determine the effects of alcohol in hindering the elimination of poisonous matter by the kidneys. The subject of one experiment was a healthy man of 30 years, weighing 66 kilos. For fifty days prior to the experiment he had taken a carefully regulated diet, and the urotoxic coefficient had remained very nearly uniform. The urine carefully collected for the first eight hours after the administration of 8 ounces of brandy diluted with water, showed an enormous diminution in the urotoxic coefficient, which was, in fact, scarcely more than half the normal coefficient for the individual in question. The urine collected for the second period of eight hours showed an increase of toxicity, and that for the third period of eight hours showed still further increase of toxicity, the coefficient having nearly returned to its normal standard.
Of this Dr. Kellogg says:—
"The bearing of this experiment upon the use of alcohol in pneumonia, typhoid fever, erysipelas, cholera and other infectious diseases, will be clearly seen. In all the maladies named, and in nearly all other infectious diseases, which include the greater number of acute maladies, the symptoms which give the patient the greatest inconvenience, and those which have a fatal termination, when such is the result, are directly attributable to the influence of the toxic substances generated within the system of the patient as the result of the specific microbes to which the disease owes its origin. The activity of the liver in destroying these poisons, and of the kidneys in eliminating them, are the physiologic processes which stand between the patient and death. In a very grave case of infectious disease, without this destructive and eliminative activity the accumulation of poison within the system would quickly reach a fatal point. The symptoms of the patient vary for better or worse in relation to the augmentation or diminution of the quantity of toxic substances within the body.
"In view of these facts, is it not a pertinent question to ask how alcohol can be of service in the treatment of such disorders as pneumonia, typhoid fever, cholera, erysipelas and other infections, since it acts in such a decided and powerful manner in diminishing urinary toxicity—in other words, in lessening the ability of the kidney to eliminate toxic substances? In infectious diseases of every sort, the body is struggling under the influence of toxic agents, the result of the action of microbes. Alcohol is another toxic agent of precisely the same origin. Like other toxins resulting from like processes of bacterial growth, its influence upon the human organism is unfriendly; it disturbs the vital processes; it disturbs every vital function, and, as we have shown, in a most marked degree diminishes the efficiency of the kidneys in the removal of the toxins which constitute the most active factor in the diseases named, and in others of analogous character. If a patient is struggling under the influence of the pneumococcus, Eberth's bacillus, Koch's cholera microbe or the pus-producing germs which give rise to erysipelatous inflammation, his kidneys laboring to undo, so far as possible, the mischief done by the invading parasites, by eliminating the poisons formed by them, what good could possibly be accomplished by the administration of a drug, one of the characteristic effects of which is to diminish renal activity, thereby diminishing also the quantity of poisons eliminated through this channel? Is not such a course in the highest degree calculated to add fuel to the flame? Is it not placing obstacles in the way of the vital forces which are already hampered in their work by the powerfully toxic agents to the influence of which they are subjected?
"In his address before the American Medical Association at Milwaukee, Dr. Ernest Hart, editor of the British Medical Journal, very aptly suggested in relation to the treatment of cholera, the inutility of alcohol, basing his suggestion upon the fact that in a case of cholera, the system of the patient is combating the specific poison which is the product of the microbe of this disease, and hence is not likely to be aided by the introduction of a poison produced by another microbe; namely, alcohol. This logic seems very sound, and the facts in relation to the influence of alcohol upon urinary toxicity or renal activity, which are elucidated by our experiment, fully sustain this observation of Mr. Hart.
"In a recent number of the British Medical Journal, Dr. Lauder Brunton, the eminent English physiologist and neurologist, in mentioning the fact that death from chloroform anaesthesia rarely occurs in India, but is not infrequent in England, attributed the fact to the meat-eating habits of the English people, the natives of India being almost strictly vegetarian in diet, partly from force of circumstances doubtless, but largely also, no doubt, as the result of their religious belief, the larger proportion of the population being more or less strict adherents to the doctrines of Buddha, which strictly prohibit the use of flesh foods.