Ichthyol to Restrict Suppuration.


W. L. Langford, M. D.

During the past year I have read in the THERAPEUTIST suggestions for the use of ichthyol to hasten the suppuration of boils, and I have used the remedy successfully for that purpose. This suggestion was the means of my using this remedy in the following interesting case of abscess of the liver.

Mrs. A. came to me with a two-year-old child, one of a pair of twins. She said the child had had fever for several days, which ran a little higher every second day. Several days previous the child had fallen out of a wagon, striking the right side on the beam of a plow. For a few days the immediately passed, the child had had a diarrhea with a greenish discharge.

Upon examination, I found that the liver was slightly enlarged, was very sensitive to the touch and rather hard on pressure. For the fever, I gave Aconite and bryonia. In addition I gave Chionanthus and Fowler's solution, three times a day.

Fourteen days later I was called to see the baby again. For several days after taking the first medicine, the child was much better, but on the night previous to my call, it had slept not at all, and the fever and soreness were materially increased. Examination showed the liver area to be greatly inflamed. The child could scarcely bear the weight of the clothes or the least touch, but would lie upon the affected side.

In addition to the treatment, as above, which I continued, I took two strips of adhesive plaster, two inches wide, and six inches long, made a small cut or notch in one edge of each strip, about midway of the strip so that when they were placed side by side, they would make an inch hole in the center. Before applying these strips, I painted over the inflamed liver, an area about four inches in diameter, with a thick coat of ichthyol, leaving a small spot in the center. Over this I applied the plaster. I changed the plaster and reapplied the ichthoyl every fifth day, making three changes in ten days.

On the thirteenth day I was again called. The skin had kept rising and protruding like a boil through the opening in the plaster until this morning, it had broken and pus was discharging very profusely. I enlarged the opening with a knife, and an examination with a probe showed the cavity to extend from the liver and to be almost as large as an ordinary teacup. I used an injection of Echinacea and thuja, diluted, four times a day, into the cavity, and gave the child an iron tonic.

I saw the child today, twenty-one days since the opening of the abscess. It had a healthy appearance, was gaining in flesh very satisfactorily, and the side has healed completely. I believe the ichthyol of important service in causing this abscess to discharge where I desired

Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 3, 1909, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.