A Cure for Tetanus.
F. B. MATTHEW, M. D., BLUE MOUND, ILL.
I believe it my duty to give to the readers of THE THERAPEUTIST my method of treating tetanus. This disease, usually classed as incurable, I have found to be curable with a simple course of treatment. I have treated ten cases with this method and have cured every case. Among these was one in which a man ran a pitchfork into his foot, from which tetanus occurred in a very short time. He was five days in spasms, had more than one hundred distinct convulsions, was treated by other physicians before I saw him, and was certainly in an apparently hopeless condition. I made four injections of the medicine in this case before the rigidity was overcome. There was a complete restoration of health, the man now after several years having shown at no time any sign of the presence of the serious disorder.
Another patient from the same cause, had a severe attack of tetanus, and had about twenty convulsions. He was not at that time one of my patients, and the physicians who attended him gave him some relief, at least there were no convulsions for twelve months. At that time, the same time of year in which the difficulty originally occurred, convulsions reappeared with great violence, and death seemed imminent. Coming under my care, I used the injections every six hours until there was perfect relaxation. The entire train of symptoms disappeared and the man recovered his usual health, which he has retained now for four years with no return of any of the unpleasant symptoms.
My other eight cases varied from simple muscular rigidity to the extreme manifestation of severe symptoms. As I have said there was a perfect recovery in every case, there were no complications, nor sequelae.
The following is the routine prescription that I have used in every case. Gelsemium, the green root tincture, twenty drops; carbolic acid, 98 per cent, twenty drops; water, twenty drops. This quantity entire is injected into the tissues of the thigh every six hours. While the quantity of carbolic acid seems large, no abscess is formed, and only the best of results in this most serious disease are attained. The remedy is accessible, easily managed, and in every way justifiable, in fact, any physician is guilty of criminal negligence if he knows of this course for the cure of tetanus and does not use it.
COMMENT.—Upon receiving the above paper from Dr. Matthew, I immediately remembered that four years ago Dr. E. H. Stevenson, late president of "The National," had spoken very highly to me of his use of the injection of carbolic acid in large doses for the cure of this disease. I wrote him at once, and the following is the prompt and satisfactory reply which I received. If other readers have had results, good or bad, from this course of treatment, if it be only a single case, I should like to hear from them at once. Dr. Matthew is one of the most reliable of observers, and the most conservative of men. He has been treasurer of our state society for nearly fifteen years. His statements with those who know him carry full weight.
Carbolic Acid in Tetanus
I have only treated three cases with the carbolic acid injection method. Two of these recovered. I depend upon the carbolic acid to destroy the germs and their toxins, but I find it necessary to use gelsemium, passiflora, chloral or morphine to control the severe nervous disturbance. I believe the gelsemium combined with carbolic acid administered together, hypodermically, will produce excellent results, especially where the flushed face and bright eye indications for gelsemium are present.
In the two cases I treated with recovery the disease had existed for four or five days before I began the use of the acid. They were both in a desperate stage of the disease. In the fatal case I began the acid treatment with the first symptoms of rigidity of the masseter muscles, and of the throat. These symptoms induced him to come to my office. I immediately sent him home and to bed, put him in the care of a trained nurse, who gave the medicine promptly, as in the other cases. Everything promised very favorably, until the evening of the ninth day, when he became suddenly worse, was seized with a severe convulsion and died instantly.
E. H. STEVENSON, M. D.
Ft. Smith, Ark.