Page images

or at any time with accidental hemorrhage the non-dilatability of the os may have to be overcome with the branched dilator. The differentiating point between the placenta and a blood-clot, when palpated, is that the latter breaks up under the pressure of the finger. The higher the implantation of the placenta, the greater the difficulty in making a diagnosis. Also, the more doubtful the diagnosis, the greater the indication for conservative treatment. This is an unusual anomaly in the treatment of such a symptom as hemorrhage, the less we know of its source the less it concerns us. The reason lies in the fact that the higher the implantation, the less the danger.

In considering the treatment of placenta previa emphasis must be given to the statement that expectant treatment should never be chosen when a positive diagnosis of the condition has been made. We all meet with cases where the great desideratum is a living child and expectant treatment is demanded. Even such a case does not warrant us in continuing to subject a patient to the great dangers of her condition. Such a policy of conservatism should not be adopted unless the patient accepts the risk and places herself in a hospital where immediate relief can be secured if a serious hemorrhage should occur. We should advise in all cases where a positive diagnosis can be made that the uterus be emptied at once.

The method employed to empty the uterus depends wholly upon the stage of gestation, the condition of the cervix as to dilatability, the variety of the placenta previa and to a certain extent upon the conditions surroundings the patient bearing upon the possibility of properly carrying out the various operative procedures.

If the plancenta previa is recognized during the first three months of gestation, the ordinary operative technic of dilatation and curettage is sufficient to meet the conditions present.

After the third month and up to the time of viability of the fetus the operative measures chosen must vary according to the symptoms present. If hemorrhage is not excessive, we have a choice between tamponnade of the cervix and the use of dilating bags. If hemorrhage is excessive, vaginal cesarean section may best meet the emergency. This operation, however, is not indicated if the development of the fetus is such as to make it possible to perform a version.

After the time of viability of the fetus, the treatment chosen depends upon the variety of the placenta previa. If lateral, the membranes are ruptured and dilatation of the cervix secured by means of dilating bags. This, alone, is all that is necessary to control the hemorrhage in many cases. If it does not do so, immediata delivery should be made, either by forceps or version, preferably the latter. If of the marginal type, the same method of procedure is followed but there is greater need of rapid delivery and manual dilatation of the cervix should supplement the action of the dilating bags. The urgent necessity for rapid extraction often leads to the carrying out of this procedure before the cervix is sufficiently dilated and this is almost certain to be followed by serious injury to the lower uterine segment.

There can be but one method of procedure in central placenta previa, namely, manual dilatation of the cervix sufficient to introduce two fingers, followed by penetration of the placenta, rupture of the membranes and combined version. If time permits, some advantage is secured by performing external version preliminary to dilatation and extraction. The hemorrhage is checked as soon as one or both legs have been brought down. Extraction of the body should be done slowly in order to secure delivery without injury to the cervix, an accident very liable to occur in this form of previa.

It is good practice to include the intra-uterine tampon in th: after-treatment of all forms of placenta previa. It is an aid in the prevention of post-partum hemorrhage. Some do not advise

prophylactic measure. Another important factor in the after-treatment is the early use of salt solution to overcome the effects of the anemia as soon as possible. The sooner the normal volume of blood is restored, the greater the immunity of the patient and the less the liability of sepsis.

It will be noticed that I have omitted probably the most conmonly used measure in the treatment of placenta previa, namely, the use of the vaginal tamponnade. I have done so because I consider the dilating bag superior to it in every way. There is no question but that the tamponnade partially controls the hemorrhage, stim · ulates uterine contractions and finally effects a softening of the cervix but it does not meet the indications for treatment as wel as the bags. Furthermore, a tamponnade is much more difficult procedure than the insertion of the bag and is far more dangerous as a factor in the production of sepsis.

I have also omitted reference to abdominal cesarean section. This method of treatment has some advocates and its chief merit is. its low fetal mortality. The maternal mortality is not so good as in other methods of treatment. It is especially indicated as favoring the child in placenta previa of the central variety and possibly in some bad cases of the marginal type. It is clearly indicated as favoring both mother and child in old primipara where difficult extraction is self-evident.

A new method of treatment has recently been brought to the attention of the profession. It consists in ligation of the uterine arteries followed by immediate extraction. It has been used in a number of cases, in some of which a living child was secured when at the time of operation, the fetal heart-beat could not be heard. The method is correct in principle and I believe that it will become more widely used than any other in the treatment of the more dangerour forms of placenta previa.

760 Rose Bldg.




The incentive for this paper is first, an article published in a homeopathic journal sometime since, on "The Homeopathic Treatment of Adenoids," which consisted in packing a pledget of hydrastis against the growth instead of doing the usual operation; and second, a paper by Burton Haseltine of Chicago, denying the right of the author of the above mentioned paper to parade it as homeopathic treatment.

The whole controversy opens up the question of how much homeo pathy is used in the modern specialist's office practice anyhow, and of what real value it is to those who do use it.

As regards the number who use homeopathy we must remember this, that the great majority of men in specialty work today, wha have had any special training at all, have received it in school clinics where nothing is ever heard of internal medication save the syrup, iodide of iron, the double chloride of mercury or the iodide of potas sium. Unless the student at these clinics is well grounded in practical homeopathic therapy, and I mean by this, unless he has had the opportunity in a general practice to have formed the habit of careful prescribing, he is peculiarly liable to become infected with the drug agnosticism of the place, and it is exceedingly difficult for such a man ever again to become a good homeopathic prescriber. True, he may

. *Prepared for the February meeting of the Cleveland Homeopathic Medical Society.

in an empirical way use drugs known to the homeopathic pharmacist but he rarely, if ever, takes up homeopathy seriously.

Again, some men in specialty work are impressed with the idea that they have graduated in materia medica and henceforth the only objects of their exceptional skill and vast knowledge are surgery and so called, rational treatment. They seem to think they should stand in a class apart from the general man, that materia medica is his weapon, surgery and local treatment theirs, and neither should step into the domain of the other. This seems to me to be wrong. The general man should have an accurate general knowledge of the whole field of medicine and is priviledged to use any therapy which he may be competent to prescribe or in a position to carry out. The specialist should supplement the general man's accurate genera) knowledge by an accurate special knowledge of the regions in which he is specializing, and this accurate special knowledge should not be confined to anatomy, physiology, pathology and surgery, but should comprehend materia medica and every aid known to medicine as well. He should have an accurate knowledge of the local symptomatology of drugs, for often in special affections we must differentiate our remedies by characteristics in their local symptomatology. My ob. servation however, is that few men prepare themselves along this line. but that the average specialist practices a very mongrel species of homeopathy if he practices it at all.

Now as to the advantage of cultivating the art of specialty prescribing, and I cannot better illustrate it than by citing to you a few cases wherein all the special and rational knowledge I may possess had been expended in vain, and where a careful .study of the local drug affinity to the disease seemed to quickly bring about the desired relief.

CASE I. A young lady of 27, teacher in the public schools, complained that for two or three years her hearing had been rapidly decreasing and a marked buzzing, whizzing sound was almost con stantly present, greatly aggravated in damp weather. Slight vertigo was occasionally present. Inspection showed a thickened, slightly depressed drumhead, the malleus moving easily during suction and compression. Inflation showed marked tubal obstruction and only the smallest bougie was admitted. Hypertrophic pharyngitis was present. The nerves were free although the turbinal mucosa was somewhat thickened. Diagnosis: Interstitial inflammation of the tube and tympanum. The tube was dilated till the largest size bougie passed easily and until inflation was perfectly free. Massage and the high frequency current were used for some months with some im. provement in hearing and slight abatement in the tinnitus. Calc. carb. rhus and other remedies were given along with the treatment. Accomplishing so little, I sat down one day to take the symptomato logy as accurately as possible and this is what was obtained: Tinni. tus, never of the ringing variety, but a low buzzing, whizzing sound becoming loud roaring on damp days or when near the water. Deafness greatly aggravated on damp, windy days. This patient lived near the lake and wind off the lake always made her much worse. There were absolutely no general symptoms to be obtained as nothing was complained of but the deafness and tinnitus. After some little study, petroleum 6x-a remedy I had never used before-was prescribed. Five days later the patient said to me, I never had anything do me so much good in all my life; the buzzing has practically disappeared and I hear much better,”—which statement the watch and the fork confirmed. This was over a year ago. I see her occasion. ally now, for with a cold there is slight return of the tinnitus which petroleum promptly relieves.

CASE II. Another patient with irterstitial changes in the tube and tympanum but with an atrophic and flabby reddened drumhead. Complained of deafness and an intense pounding, throbbing in the ears much worse at irregular intervals. The same local treatment was given as in the other case and the drumhead supported by collodion. Fer. phos., china and other remedies were given, but after three months the subjective conditions were as before. One day she came into the office and said the pounding was terrific, she was dizzy and nauseated. Her face was flushed, the eyes suffused and the carotids throbbing. It took me about three minutes to prescribe atropine 3x. Two days later she reported the throbbing tinnitus as having disappeared very shortly after the first dose of the medicine. This was eight weeks ago. She is still under my treatment and to her intense relief there has not been the slightest return of the tinnitus.

CASE III. A patient who for years had had chronic dermatitis of the external auditory canal, with moist, scaling of the external covering of the drumhead of both ears; discharge foul, and irritaing the external auditory meatus. At the time I saw him he had been having a crop of furuncles not confined to the ear but upon the neck and body. One good sized one at the auditory meatus had driven him to the aurist. Under Hepar 6x the furuncles disappeared but the foul discharge still persisted from the external canal. It was carefully cleaned, the scales and dead epithelium removed and swabbed with ichthyol and he was directed to use the ichthyol at home. Gra

« PreviousContinue »