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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 33

Case II.—Diphtheria, etc

Case II.—Diphtheria, etc.

Conceiving this conclusion to be just, I soon tried the power of the sulphur cure in several other cases as they occurred in practice, including two of mild scarlatina, several of hoarseness and common colds, sores and skin diseases, bad coughs of long standing, begun consumption, etc. etc. Most of these cases I dismiss very summarily, for two reasons—1. Because to detail them all would require a large volume instead of a letter; 2. Because having conceived the idea of writing about them only a few days ago, I took no notes of them at the time, and by trusting to memory might fall into blunder. I can safely say this, however, that with one exception (to be mentioned hereafter) in no instance was any harm produced; in some there appeared to be decided good. The only serious case of the whole (except consumption), the only case I mean threatening an immediate danger of life, was a very bad case of diphtheria in a young, delicate girl, in whom the throat affection had proceeded to a great extent before either the sulphur treatment or any other treatment began. I treated this case with the sulphur fumes, because my spray-producer had not yet come to hand. I was seriously alarmed for this girl's life on my first visit, and ordered the fumes to be carefully persisted in, not indeed expecting that they could choke or kill such a large throat mushroom (as we may call it), rooted and fixed on both tonsils, but in hopes that they might prevent the disease extending to the windpipe. My candid opinion is, that these fumes did good, perhaps even saved the girl's life. Yet, honestly speaking, this is a mere opinion or impression, destitute of decided evidence. Indeed, I cannot positively affirm that they did any good at all, for the following reasons :—1. I have seen cases fully as bad recover under the ordinary treatment, though, generally speaking, such cases are very apt to die. 2. Along with the sulphur fumes all the ordinary treatment was conjoined, caustic, chlorate of potash, Condy's fluid as a wash for the throat, wine, beef-tea, etc. etc.; and what was due to the sulphur, or what to the other remedies, it is impossible to say. 3. The great point is, that the patient, on the whole, made a good recovery; and especially, while no other disinfectant was employed in the house, no other member of the family (consisting of four persons) caught the infection. To show that they were as liable to infection as other people, I may add that they have only one apartment; and, a few months ago, one of the children having caught scarlet fever, the other two children, as well as another in the next dwelling, caught it too, whereof one of the children died.

But it behoves us now to proceed a stage, and say something of the New Magical Machine or Spray-Producer, since obtaining which I have jotted down some notes of such cases as appeared either interesting or instructive.