HOME    ALTERNATIVE MEDICAL LIBRARY CATALOGUE    TABLE OF CONTENTS    NEXT CHAPTER


  

 

THE BEGINNING OF QUACKERY

Chapter IX

   Quack is from the German word for mercury or quicksilver — quacksalber. The term was applied to Paracelsus and his followers because of their extensive use of this metal. Originally the word quack was applied to those who poisoned their patients with mercury. Now it is falsely applied to all who refuse to poison their patients. Every intelligent reader will readily recognize to whom the term really belongs.

   Paracelsus was not the first to use mercury in "syphilis", but he was the first to proclaim it a specific and the only specific for "the disease" (1636). To Jacob Carpensic belongs the doubtful honor of having been the first to use mercury in "syphilis." This was in the year 1502 and de Kruif tells us that his use of it "was so successful that he presently became rich thereby." The Arabians had used mercurial ointment in the treatment of scabies (itch) and because "syphilis" produced sores somewhat like scabies, the ungentum Saracenicun was used in "syphilis."

   Fracastorius (1630) advised infusions of mint, hops, thyme, and guaiac. He insisted on sweating, saying: "when one perspires, the rottenness leaves the body with the drops of sweat." He also advised purging and bleeding, but above all, he praised mercuric inunctions, which he pushed up to the point of salivation. In 1648 Femel sustained the claim of Paracelsus that mercury is a specific and the only specific for "syphilis."

   Following Carpensic, Fracastorius, Paracelsus and Fernel, mercuric inunctions were employed to such an extent that the gums of "the patients softened and their teeth fell out." Palm thus describes this early treatment: "They filled their patients' stomachs with mercury pills; painted and greased them with mercury salves, and as an afterthought baked them in ovens until one early author observed that 'the stench of frying fat was through the air.'"

   Parran says: "Unfortunately, no one knew of the great risk attached to the continued use of mercury. The physician, of his nature proceeded cautiously. The quacks, however, promising quicker results gave such huge doses that as many patients succumbed to the drug as to the disease. *** This mercurialization which, at its best, was almost as dangerous to the patient as the disease, when supplemented by the bleeding, the purging, and the sweating that characterized the. treatment of the time, constitutes a picture of therapeutics at its ebb tide of usefulness. The doctors being intimidated by what they saw, either gave up the use of mercury entirely or used it in amounts insufficient to control the disease."

   He is not entirely honest about what he calls the "misuse of mercury." It was the people and not the doctors who rebelled against the mercury treatment. More honest, de Kruif says, "because there was no standardized dosage, many patients were poisoned, and actually killed, by doctors who were too eager to cure them. This caused the popularity of mercury to wax and wane. In the sixteenth and seventeeth centuries German candidates for the doctor's degree were made to take an oath that they would under no conditions prescribe mercury for their patients. Doctors who did so were denounced as 'poison mixers and murderers.'"

   Such practices constituted therapeutics, not at its "ebb tide of usefulness," but at its high tide of destructiveness. No doubt many patients died after years of suffering from slow mercurial poisoning. Many were bled to death, while many more died of heat stroke. Others died of all three. Some were too tough to kill.

   Parran says, "so great were the agonies that attended overuse of mercury that guaiacum, china root, sarsaparilla, sassafrass, and other similar preparations, each in turn, were hailed as cure-alls. Sweating in its early vogue, may be considered as the forerunner of the fever-machine therapy."

   Then, during the last half of the nineteenth century Fournier in Paris and Hutchinson in London, worked out the precise method of administering mercury to avoid salivation and it resumed its place as a specific for "syphilis." Iodides were added to the treatment as a "useful auxiliary to clean up the late lesions."

   "Syphilis" assumed its present protean forms when it began to be treated with mercury. Its pathology was changed over night and it rapidly became the nightmare of the profession and the haunt of the public. Unfortunately for the "civilized" portions of the race, mercury in some of its forms has been used lavishly in many other diseases. There is hardly a disease in the nosology for which mercury in some form has not been used. It is for this reason that so many hundreds of people who give no history of ever having had so-called "syphilis" often develop diseases that are said to belong to the tertiary stages of "syphilis." Of course, there are other drugs besides mercury that can and do cause these troubles, as will be shown later.

   Taken in any of its forms mercury is followed by erythemia, painful nodosities, cellulitis, abscesses, and sloughing. Any or all of these may be present. Mercurial poisoning is accompanied by a peculiar metalic taste in the mouth, a profuse tenacious saliva, sensitive teeth, inflammed gums, which are, at first, light in color but later become red and spongy. If sufficient mercury is given the teeth become loose and fall out. The tongue and parotoid glands swell, while ulcers form on the mucous surfaces of the mouth and throat. The condition of the mouth and throat is duplicated in the mucous lining of the stomach and bowels. The victim becomes weak, depressed, nervous, loses his appetite, has headache, indigestion, diarrhea, gastro-intestinal catarrh and skin eruptions. Mercury may cause general mental and physical degeneracy and death. It all depends on the amount given and the effectiveness of the organism in eliminating it.

   Bastedo, a standard medical author, says: "Mercuric chloride has a special destructive action upon the epithelium of the convulted tubules; in sub-acute and chronic poisoning there may be a diffused nephritis." Again, "the mildest form of poisoning has for its prominent feature 'mercurial stomatitis,' or as it is commonly called, 'salivation.' It is much more readily produced in nephritis than when the kidneys are unimpaired. *** The profuse salivation may go on to the inflammation of the salivary glands, and to necrosis of parts of the mouth and jaws; in addition the patient feels ill and there may be headache, lassitude, muscular weakness, and diarrhea, occasionally there is constipation."

   There was a time, not over fifty years ago, when a physician did not think he had done anything if he had not salivated his patient. Now signs of salivation are watched for and upon their appearance drugging is stopped for a short time and then resumed. The Department of Health of the state of New York, advises in its pamphlet on The Modern Treatment of Syphilis, Gonorrhea and Chancroid: "if salivation occurs, mercurial therapy should be temporarily discontinued to be renewed in smaller dosage after the salivation clears up. For the salivation, frequent mouth washes with a saturated aqueous solution of potassium chlorate are recommended. For soft, spongy gums, tincture of myrrh may be painted on locally two or three times a day."

   Dr. Richard C. Cabot discusses the various methods of employing mercury and the evils of this drug and says: "Every patient is warned to watch for symptoms of over dose. The first of these is a soreness of the teeth on striking them together; that comes twenty-four hours or so before the more serious result of inflammation of the mouth, stomatitis, with increased flow of saliva, hence the term 'salivation.' Our grandfathers never thought they had given enough mercury unless they had salivated their patients. Nowadays patients do not take kindly to the idea and doctors try their best to avoid it. But this is often impossible unless the patient obeys the direction to stop treatment the instant there is any soreness of the teeth; even then he sometimes will have trouble afterwards."

   Mercury enters the blood as an oxide and is carried to all parts of the system. It combines with the phosphoric acid of the bones, forming phosphate of mercury and leaving the bones in a state of oxide of calcium, or common lime. The bones being thus chemically decomposed, exfoliate and crumble. There are records of many cases of destruction of the jaw bones by mercury. The teeth become loosened and sometimes fall out. Their extraction is followed by ulceration, of the sockets. The Mercurial teeth of Hutchinson are found in children who have taken the drug in some form in infancy. It is probable that the defective teeth found in so-called congenital syphilitic cases are also due to mercury. Congenital syphilis in such cases being nothing more nor less than congenital mercurialism. In other words, the infant suffers because of the mercury taken by the mother. It suffers in more ways than mere defects in its teeth. A large number of cases of pyorrhea are due to mercury.

   Any drug that can destroy the teeth and jaw bones is capable of destroying any bone in the body. This being true, and it is true, what but mercury produces the osseous lesions of modern "syphilitics?" If such lesions are not found in the ancients, why not explain it by the fact that they had not made so much "scientific" advancement that they were able to "cure" disease with this powerful metal?

   Of course, medical men will claim that this destruction of the bones is due to "syphilis." But I deny that there is such a disease, except as they create it with drugs. "Syphilis" is a medical creation. And, I repeat, they should be proud of their skill in building pathology.

   Professor N. Chapman, M.D., for years professor of Materia Medica in the University of Pennsylvania wrote: "If you could see what I almost daily see in my private practice, persons from the South in the very late stage of miserable existence *** emaciated to a skeleton, with both plates of the skull almost completely perforated in many places, the nose half gone, with rotten jaws and ulcerated throats, with breaths more pestiferous than the poisonous Bohon Upas, with limbs racked with pains of the Inquisition, minds as imbecile as a pulling babe, a grievous burden to themselves and a disgusting spectacle to the world *** you would exclaim, as I have often done, 'Oh, the lamentable ignorance which dictates the use (as medicine) of that noxious calomel!' It is a disgraceful reproach to the profession of medicine; it is quackery — horrid, murderous quackery. What merit do physicians flatter themselves they possess by being able to salivate a patient? Cannot the veriest fool in Christiandom give calomel to salivate. But I ask another question: Who is there that can stop the career of calomel once it has taken the reins into its own possession? He who resigns the fate of his patients to calomel is a vile enemy to the sick, and, if he has a tolerable practice, will in a single season, lay the foundation of a good business for life; for he will ever afterward have enough to do to stop the mercurial breaches in the constitution of his dilapidated patients. He has thrown himself in close contact with death, and will have to fight him at arms length so long as one of his patients maintains a miserable existence."

   Calomel is mercury. Here is a spendid example of those horrid pen-pictures of "tertiary syphilis" which syphilophobic minds are so fond of drawing, and it is the result of the use of mercury in the treatment of fevers and simple ailments. Dr. Parran says: "Part of the decline in early cases may be due to the changing character of the disease. The older syphilologists comment upon the fact that nowadays we see bone lesions much less frequently — 50 years ago every medical school could show medical students plenty of old syphilitics who had lost a nose, for instance. Now we find them only occasionally. Neither are there so many of such exacerberated skin lesions."

   Perhaps the declining use of mercury will account for this "changing character of the disease" and less frequent "bone lesions." The reader will please bear in mind that the bone lesions put in their appearance only after the medical profession began treating their patients with heavy and frequent doses of mercury.

   The United States Dispensatory says "mercury occasionally produces a peculiar eruption of the skin, which is described by writers under the various names of hydrargyria, exzema mercuriale, and lepra mercurialis." Any syphilophobic doctor may easily mistake these skin eruptions for "second stage syphilis." One does not have to take mercury as a medicine in order to be poisoned by it. The Dispensatory says "those who work in mercury, and are, therefore, exposed to its vapor, such as looking-glass silverers, and quicksand miners, are injured seriously in their health and are not infrequently affected with shaking palsy, attended with vertigo and other cerebral disorders. *** occasionally, in peculiar constitutions, its (mercury's) action is quite different, being productive of a dangerous disturbance of the vital functions. Pearson gave a detailed account of this occasional peculiarity in the operation of mercury, in his work in venereal diseases. The symptoms which characterize it are a small frequent pulse, anxiety about the praecordia, pale and contracted countenance, great nervous agitation, and alarming debility."

   One of the first symptoms of mercurial poisoning is swelling of the parotid glands (of the mouth). Bastedo tells us that it also produces nephritis, or inflammation of the kidneys. He adds that where the kidneys are unimpaired, mercurial stomatitis or salivation is not so easily produced as where they are impaired. This is due to the fact that the mercury is sent to the kidneys to be eliminated and if these are unimpaired they are more successful in eliminating the drug. Dr. Richard C. Cabot says, that mercury is one of the common causes of Bright's disease. He tells of a case of this disease which developed in a woman who had used a small amount of mercurial ointment on her scalp to kill lice. She had purchased but a teaspoonful of the ointment and had rubbed it onto her scalp as directed. Dr. Cabot says of the result, "but she had got a severe mercurial poisoning as a result. One of the effects was acute Bright's disease." He says that in Germany, where the less powerful poisons are hard to get, mercury causes many deaths every year from Bright's disease.

   The Department of Health of the State of New York, issues a pamphlet on The Modern Treatment of Syphilis, Gonorrhea and Chancroid, by Edward H. Marsh, M.D., consultant in Venereal Diseases, in which occurs the following: "Mercury and arsphenamine each put an added strain on the kidneys and weekly examinations should be made of the urine of a patient taking either or both. The general condition of the patient in regard to weight, nourishment, etc., should also be watched. The teeth should be brushed night and morning and after each meal."

   Any drug that is capable of producing the destructive effects upon the glands of the mouth as those described, and can cause acute inflammation and destruction of the kidneys (Bright's disease) is capable of doing the same for every gland in the body. It is capable of affecting every membrane of the body just as it affects the skin and mucous membranes and the bones. In fact, there is not a tissue nor fluid in the body that is exempt from the ravages of this powerful metallic poison. It is chemically destructive to every part of the body with which it comes in contact, and though slow and gradual in its operation, often its results showing only after the lapse of years, the final results of its use must be universal ruin to a greater or less extent.

   Previously I gave you Professor Chapman's description of the effects of calomel on patients, in which he mentioned that their minds were as imbecilic as that of a pulling babe. Perhaps you had never thought of mercury as one of the causes of insanity. Among the nervous and mental symptoms produced by mercurial poisoning, Bastedo presents: "tremor of the hands and lips, or of the whole body, irritability of temper, fear, hallucination, loss of memory and peripheral neuritis".

   On page 110, Vol. 1, of the Transactions of the Medical Society of London, are the following forcible words of one Dr. Falconer, of Bath, concerning the effects of mercury: "Among other ill effects it tends to produce tumors, paralysis, and, not infrequently, incurable mania. I have myself seen repeatedly, from this cause, a kind of approximation to these maladies that embittered life to such a degree, with shocking depression of spirits and other nervous agitations with which it was accompanied, as to make it more than probable that many of the suicides which disgrace our country were occasioned by the intolerable feelings which result from such a state of the nervous system."

   Who is able to estimate the number in our asylums who were sent there by mercury? Who can tell how many hopeless paralytics are so because of the deadly effects of this murderous drug? Mercury combines with the phosphoric acid of the nerves, weakening and destroying these and thus giving rise to headaches, neuralgia, neuritis, nervousness, severe pains, often mistaken for rheumatism, loss of memory, and if continued, locomotor ataxia, paralysis, insanity and death. Physicians will tell you that these troubles are due to "syphilis." Let them prove it by demonstrating that they exist in so-called primitive peoples who have no mercury, etc., with which to treat the disease.

   In his article, "The Truth About Syphilis," which appeared in Hearst's International, Nov. 1922, de Kruif writes of the use of mercury by Carpensic, "the effect of the drug was so distinct and unmistakable that even the shaky and "unscientific method of folklore soon placed it in the small company of really valuable drugs." In spite of its "distinct and unmistakable" effects, he tells us that, "for a long time, however, it was a serious question whether its effects on the dreadful disease was to cure or only improve (suppress, — Author) its symptoms."

   "There was only one way," he says, "in early days to tell to what extent mercury was of benefit. This was for the doctor to give a long and careful course of treatment with the drug, until the outward signs of the malady disappeared, and then watch carefully for a recurrence of the disease, or what is technically known as a 'relapse'.

   "If a person so unfortunate as to contract the disease, submitted himself to careful mercurial treatment, his symptoms might disappear, they might never return, and consequently he might be said to be cured by mercury."

   He adds, "On the other hand, some who were never treated with mercury, had the same experience. That is to say, they contracted the plague and then, for some unexplainable reasons got better (he is afraid to say they got well) without any treatment, and remained hale and hearty till old ago." Then, fearing that some one might suggest that "mercury-cured" cases were also cases of spontaneous recovery, he hastens to add: "It is evident from this that it might be easy for 'knockers' to maintain that mercury had no real effect on the disease. Such critics might say that it would be better to go to a soothsayer or witch doctor, or indulge in prayer to God (and this is precisely what the present author does say), rather than run a chance of being poisoned by a dangerous drug.

   "In those days of ignorance of the cause of this sinister plague, the opponents of the use of mercury might have been put to flight by a simple method. That is to say, if doctors had kept careful records of the number of people who suffered relapse after good treatment with mercury, compared to the number who relapsed after prayer or witch-doctoring with no mercury, they might have had definite evidence of the merit of mercury. They could have assured themselves by comparing the records, that more people got better by mercury, than spontaneously or by prayer."

   In spite of de Kruif's confidence that such records, had they been kept, and they were not, would have upheld mercury, I must give it as my own conviction that the opposite would have been the case and that were it possible (which it was not) to gather up all cases that resorted to prayer or witch-doctoring, the percentage in favor of these would be so great as compared to mercury, that mercury soon would have ceased to be employed. For, mercury not only does not and cannot cure the patient, but it damages him or her greatly, de Kruif, himself says: " *** While it had now been proved that mercury has definitely injurious effects on the cause of this infection, it was clear that other curative agents should be looked for. This was evident for two reasons. First, the dose of mercury needed to destroy the infection is perilously near to the dose that seriously harms human beings. Second, many cases of this plague flourish obstinately, in spite of thorough treatment with this new drug."

   The learned doctor evidently is not aware that tests such as the one he suggested have been made and they give exactly opposite results to the ones he says they should have given. Fortunately, these experiments were made under precisely the right circumstances, and on a sufficiently large scale to assure comparative accuracy in the results. These were made in European Naval and Military hospitals with such an unvarying statistical regularity in results that we are justified in the assertions that: (1) the less medicine the better, and (2) at that time, at least, the mercurial treatment was the worst form of treatment employed.

   Since no questions have been raised as to the fairness of these tests nor as to the competency of the men and institutions making them and, since they bear out all that has been previously said in these pages about the evils of mercury, I shall give some account of them at this place.

   In a clinical lecture published in the London Lancet, July 24, 1852, subsequently reproduced in "Braithwaites Retrospect," part XXVI, p. 278, then the leading allopathic journal of Europe, and later copied into Dr. Trail's "Pathology of the Reproductive Organs," 1861, Professor Bennett, of Edenburgh, Scotland said: "The treatment of syphilis may be said to be of two kinds, namely the simple and the mercurial. The profession is rapidly deciding in favor of the first, although some of its members still give mercury in inveterate cases. Many of those we meet with, therefore, have taken the drug, and we have to eradicate the effects of the mineral poison as well as that of the original disease."

   Describing the simple treatment, which, he says, "is divided into internal or medical and external or surgical," he tells us that it consists of such measures as diet, rest, exercise, tepid baths, laxatives, cleanliness and, externally, fomentations or dressings of simple cerate. Of diet he says: "The diet must be light and mild, meat and all stimulating viands retarding the cure; even with the lightest diet, the hunger should never be quite appeased. The regimen must be more diminished and rigid in proportion to the youth and vigor of the patient." In some cases stimulating, caustic or opiate dressings were applied and occasionally leeches were applied and in a few cases iodide of potassium was prescribed, but on the whole the simple treatment is well described by Trail when he says of it: "It certainly has the negative merit of doing but little harm, so far as drugs are concerned; while the hygienic management, so far as it goes, is positively beneficial, and in a majority of cases, perhaps all that is required."

   Coming, then, to the mercurial treatment, Dr. Bennett thus described it: "The mercurial treatment consists in keeping up slight salivation by means of the internal administration of blue pills or some form of mercury, sometimes conjoined with mercurial frictions or fumigations, at least for the space of a month. This physiological (pathological) action of the drug may be produced by administering any of its preparations continuously in small doses. If combined with opium, they act less on the bowels and more on the system generally. (Opium produces constipation and this prevents the normal expulsion of the drug by means of a diarrhea. This results in its absorption and then the other parts of the body are brought into contact with it. — Author's note.)

   "It is necessary during its action, that the patient does not expose himself to cold. A certain irritability is produced, and the constant soreness of the gums, the metallic taste in the mouth, not to speak of the inconveniences of profuse salivation which occasionally occurs, render this species of treatment anything but agreeable to the patient."

   Dr. Trail well says: "Dr. Bennett might have added, this course of treatment is not only particularly disagreeable to the patient, but absolutely distressing, and not only distressing but actually ruinous to the constitution. No person can be salivated, however slightly, without a serious injury to the system; but to keep up this condition of violent poisoning and disorganizing inflammation for weeks can never fail to damage the whole organization irreparably, as the thousands of aching, pain-racked, shattered, rheumatic, and neuralgic invalids, who have been subjected to even the mildest mercurial courses, and whose existence thereafter is but a living death, can testify."

   The reader should now have a good general idea of the two forms of treatment in vogue in the early part of the nineteenth century. Coming to the experiences with these two modes of treatment, Dr. Bennett says: "Both kinds of treatment have now been extensively tested. In the year 1822, the Royal Council of Health, in Sweden, having been charged by the King to conduct a series of experiments upon the different modes of treating venereal diseases, reports from all the civil and military hospitals were ordered to be drawn up annually. These reports established the inconveniences (!) of the mercurial system, and the superior advantages of the simple treatment. In the various hospitals of Sweden, forty thousand cases have been under treatment, one half by the simple method, the remaining half by mercury — the proportion of relapses have been in the first instance seven and a half, in the second, thirteen and two thirds, in one hundred. Dr. Fricke's experiments in the Hamburg General Hospital were first made public in 1828. In four years, out of 1649 patients of both sexes, 582 were treated by a mild mercurial course, and 1067 without mercury; the mean duration of the latter method has been fifty-one days, and that by mercury eighty-five. He found that relapses were more frequent, and secondary syphilis more severe, when mercury had been given. When the non-mercurial treatment was followed, they rarely occurred, and were more simple and mild when met with. He tells us that he has treated more than five thousand patients without mercury, and has still to see cases in which that remedy may be advantageously employed. He has never observed caries, loss of the hair, or pains in the bones follow his treatment: and in all such cases which come under his care, much mercury had been given.

   "In 1833, the French Council of Health published the reports sent in by the physicians and surgeons attached to regiments and hospitals in various parts of France. Some of the reports are in favor of a mild mercurial course; others in favor of simple treatment. They all agree in stating the cure by mercury to be one third longer than by the simple treatment. At Strassberg, mercury was only employed in very obstinate cases. Between 1831 and 1834, 6271 patients had been thus treated, and the number of relapses and secondary affections calling for the employment of mercury had been very small. No case of caries, and only one or two instances of exostosis, had been observed. Full reliance may be placed on these facts, as regiments remained in garrison at Strassburg for five or six years.

   "In the various reports now published, more than eighty thousand cases have been submitted to experiment, by means of which it has been perfectly established that syphilis is cured in a shorter time, and with less probability of inducing secondary syphilis, by the simple treatment."

   Caries of the bones, loss of hair, pains in the bones, and exostosis resulting in those cases treated by mercury and absent in those cases not treated by mercury, should convince the reader that mercury itself is a cause and, often, the sole cause, of many conditions which are called "tertiary syphilis." Think of the utter absurdity of going to a physician with a condition which is caused by mercury and have him treat it with more mercury! And yet this is what is done all over the world today. Dr. Trail says: "More than a score of times have I seen the miserable sufferer salivated again, to remedy the effects of a prior salivation, the physician mistaking the mercurial cachexy for secondary syphilis."

   Dr. Bennett further says: "These facts are now very generally admitted, and malignant syphilis is gradually disappearing. Twenty years ago, the most frightful secondary and tertiary cases were met with, and the usual treatment was profuse salivation. At present such cases are rare. Abroad, owing to the wise police regulations, the disease is infinitely more innocent even than it is at present in Scotland; and under the salutary influence of a mild and simple treatment its virulence is daily abating. In appreciating the value of this important revolution in practice, we should not forget to eulogize those who had first the boldness to introduce it. The credit of this is mainly due, in England, to Mr. Ferguson, and other British army surgeons who practiced it during the Penninsular campaign; and to Mr. Rose, of the Coldstream Guards. In Scotland, the writings and lectures of the late John Thompson, of this university, were mainly instrumental in convincing Scotch practitioners of the evils of mercury in venereal disease. In England, the Hunterian theory and practice have been deeply rooted, and in Ireland have been supported by the writings of Carmichael and Colles. Mercury in consequence is still very generally employed in those parts of the Kingdom. The gigantic experiments made abroad, however, ought to convince the most sceptical, if not let them compare what syphilis is in Scotland with what it was, and especially observe that we never see an instance of the disease, such as that malignant case now in the ward, unless the patient's system has been contaminated with mercury."

   "The syphilitic contamination," says Trail, "is much more easily recovered from than the mercurial," and in this, I fully agree with him. In the above quotations the expression "mild mercurial course" occurs a number of times. Prof. C. R. Gilman, M.D., of the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons, is quoted by Trail as saying: "A mild mercurial course, and mildly cutting a man's throat, are synonymous terms." He also quotes Prof. H. G. Cox, M.D., of the New York Medical College as testifying: "Mercury is a sheet-anchor in fevers; but it is an anchor that moors your patient to the grave."

   The experiments recounted above, covering more than eighty thousand cases, in some of the leading hospitals on the European continent, under the direction of some of the very best medical talent of the age, fully established certain facts, namely:

   1. That "syphilitics" treated without mercury recover in much shorter time than do those treated with mercury.

   2. That the tendency to relapse is almost doubly as great in mercury treated patients.

   3. That mercury ruins the constitution while "syphilis" does not.

   4. That the "tertiary" affections are seldom seen in cases treated without mercury.

   5 That disease of the bone (caries and exostosis) is almost unknown in the non-mercury treated cases.

   6. That the "inconveniences" of mercury treatment are avoided where mercury is not employed.

   What more can the profession and the patient ask for? If these facts are not sufficient to utterly condemn mercury-therapy, nothing short of the extermination of the whole human family will satisfy them.

   Surprising as it may seem to the reader, the medical profession continued to employ mercury for the treatment of so-called "syphilis," in the face of such over-whelming evidence of the disastrous consequences of mercurialization and, although, used more carefully and in much smaller and fewer doses today than then, it was, until a very few years ago the leading remedy employed by the Allopathic school in treating so-called "syphilis." Trail, in trying to account for the continued use of this drug, in the face of such results, says: "It can only be accounted for on the ground of professional prejudice. Medical men, after being once educated, do not often change their opinions. They have, during their course of studies, learned that medical theories, on almost all subjects, are as contradictory as they are numerous, and that medical facts, opinions, and practices are as changeable as the ever-varying phases of the moon. Hence, they naturally become incorrigibly sceptical in relation to new notions, and so, with rare exceptions, go through life with the same routine in professional business. For this reason, too, they are much more inclined to adhere to old errors than to adopt new truths."

   Dr. Hermann, of Vienna, a graduate of the great medical schools of Vienna, and for thirty years superintendent of the syphilitic wards in the Hospital, Wieden, near Vienna, which is one of the greatest institutions in the world for the treatment of so-called leutic ailments, has written several books in which he vigorously combats the idea that "syphilis" is a constitutional disease, and shows that under proper hygienic conditions, the disease is self-limited, runs a regular natural course, and never produces any "tertiary stages." The doctor states that during those thirty years in this great municipal hospital, while under the closest constant scrutiny from doctors and medical schools, he treated sixty thousand cases of so-called "syphilitic" disease without the employment of mercury. He also states that in all the cases thus treated he has never observed a single spontaneous recurrence, nor the development of "tertiary symptoms," nor any evidence of hereditary transmission.

   Dr. Hermann says: "The disease conditions usually diagnosed as constitutional syphilis are the results of mercurial treatment or of other disease taints in the body.

   "This I prove, first by clinical observation of the natural course of the disease, and second, by the positive chemical proof of the presence of mercury in the system." *** "Among the thousands of leutics whom for thirty years I observed in the Hospital Wieden in Vienna and who were treated without mercury, not a single one developed symptoms of constitutional syphilis."

   "Cases of so-called constitutional syphilis that came to us suffering with ulcerations of the palate, mouth and nose, with bone pains, gummata of the brain and inflammations of the nerves, all had histories of mercurial treatment. Hundreds of electrolytical analyses of urine, sputum, perspiration, blood and other body materials revealed the presence of mercury, while a comparatively small percentage exhibited scrofulous or tuberculous symptoms.

   "Thus it became clear to me that the entire chain of symptoms which are commonly diagnosed as constitutional syphilis are nothing but the effects of mercury in the human body."

   "Workers salivated in the mercury mines in Idra, who never suffered with syphilis, exhibit all the symptoms of so-called secondary and tertiary syphilis. In the blood and urine of these patients I also found mercury. In fact, the various forms of mercurialism everywhere occur among people who continually come in contact with mercury and thus absorb it; no age, no sex is immune. This is verified by physicians practicing among quick-silver miners, mirror, thermometer and barometer makers, etc." 

 

HOME    ALTERNATIVE MEDICAL LIBRARY CATALOGUE    TABLE OF CONTENTS    NEXT CHAPTER