Page images
PDF
EPUB

are commonly administered in these cases for suppressing coughs, &c., are with difficulty acted on by the stomach, and produce irritation of the lining membrane of that organ, and, as Andral, Larroque, Johnson, and others besides myself have observed, thus do irreparable mischief to the system generally; for the injurious effects of the remedies frequently not only destroy the stomach and all that was previously sound, but actually increase the cough and pectoral suffering they are intended to alleviate. We can only improve nutrition and restore the purity of the blood by restoring the function of the lungs; therefore, all our efforts should be directed to this end. Whatever medicines are given by the stomach can only be regarded as palliatives, therefore the stomach should not be burdened and tortured with any drugs so given, which are not necessary for the temporary relief of some distressing symptom.

Since the publication of the first edition of my treatise on inhalation (in the year 1844), I have had the happiness of curing, or materially relieving, some thousand cases, in the great majority of which other means had failed. Having thus had abundant opportunities of fully testing the value of the treatment, I am now justified in stating, without a desire to claim for it any miraculous results,—

1st. That medicines, when inhaled, act locally on the lungs and air-passages, and that it is only when so administered that any direct action can be produced.

2ndly. That inhaled medicines act constitutionally as well as locally, and not only so, but more speedily, more powerfully, and with less disturbance of the healthy organism, than when administered in any other manner.

3rdly. That inhalation, as a practice, is based upon scientific principles, and its safety and soundness susceptible of demonstration by facts known and recorded by the highest authorities in the profession.

4thly. And lastly, that the results of this practice show a

greater proportion of recoveries than was ever before attained in the treatment of these diseases, and are such as not only to warrant, but to demand, its general adoption.

If inhalation has not succeeded in the hands of the prejudiced and inexperienced practitioner-for it is a law of nature that whatever is greatly valuable in its use must be proportionately mischievous in its abuse-the failure must not, in common justice, be attributed to the inefficiency of the system, but to the right causes-to inexperience, to a want of knowledge of, or perseverance in, this modus medendi, and an absence of discrimination and skill in the selection of proper cases, and to an incorrect adaptation of the remedies employed to the existing condition of the system and stage of the disease. In almost every instance that has come under my observation of the failure of the practice, it has arisen from either of these circumstances.

eases.

It is under all circumstances a disagreeable and invidious thing for a man to speak of himself, but I may be permitted to suggest that much of my own success may have resulted from a constant study and treatment of these particular disThe division of labour and attention in the treatment of the various diseases to which humanity is liable has always been regarded as highly advantageous to the public and essential to the advancement of medical science; for we are informed by Herodotus that in ancient Egypt a special practitioner was employed for almost every complaint; at which we cannot be surprised when we recollect the multiplicity of diseases which usually occupy and bewilder the mind of the practitioner, furnishing by far too wide a field ever to be satisfactorily occupied by any individual, whatever may be his talents or attainments. Besides which, the anxiety displayed by those who have successfully practised inhalation, and the particular care and perseverance in conducting the process, and duly watching and regulating its effects, will frequently cause it to succeed, when it would fail under less careful management.

I rejoice for the sake of suffering humanity that of late years I have gained the approbation of many of the most eminent members of my profession (some having consulted me in their own individual cases), from whom I formerly met with a share of that opposition which almost every new invention or mode of treatment, however valuable, has been fated to encounter; and I cannot but feel extremely gratified to find that the opinions I have so long held upon the merits. of inhalation should at length be more fully supported by my medical brethren, and that the spirit which of old incited bigotry to the persecution of philosophy is rapidly declining.

Earnestly do I trust that my persevering exertions may lead to a general adoption of Medicated Inhalation-the benefits of which are incontestable-familiar to all who have fairly employed it—and well recognised by patients themselves and thus remove the reproach now attached to the physician, that pulmonary diseases, which, generally speaking, are so slow in their progress, and preceding whose advent there are such direct indications, should, in so many cases, claim the character of hopelessness. Indeed, I cannot believe that any influence, or combination of influences, can long prevent its universal employment, for it is the only known treatment which can be regarded by the profession as a scientific effort to arrest or overcome pulmonary diseases, and the only one to which the invalid can reasonably look with hope in the hour of affliction.

In conclusion I must explain that

THE METHOD OF INHALING

is exceedingly simple; indeed, nothing can be more so. The patient is provided with a small portable and inexpensive apparatus, called an "Inhaler,” into which is poured a certain quantity of warm water. The remedies are then added to and mixed with the fluid, and the medicated vapour is inhaled through a tube of large diameter.

In consequence of the importance now attached to pneumatic remedies, many ingenious machines have been proposed to convey them to the respiratory organs; but the wellfounded objection which has been generally entertained to their employment, consists in the exertion experienced by enfeebled patients, in inhaling through a very small tube by the continued effort of suction. The instrument which I employ does not necessitate the slightest labour or fatigue, and may be used by the most enfeebled patients, no more effort being required than in ordinary breathing. While using the inhaler, it may be placed upon the table or the couch, and raised to the required height on a book, or in any other way that may be found most convenient.

The temperature of the fluid with which the remedies are mixed should be regulated, according to the nature and stage of the disease, with care and judgment, and should vary from 80° to 140° Fahr. When the patient is occupied out of doors, or in any way exposed to the vicissitudes of the weather, the heat of the fluid should not exceed, in any instance, 120°, the vapour of which when inhaled will not be above the natural heat of the surfaces to which it is applied.

It has been ascertained that atmospheric air at 57 degrees of temperature, when combined, in its passage through the inhaler, with the vapour arising from

Water, at 100 degrees, afforded an inhalation of 79 degrees.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

In acute, or sub-acute diseases, when the symptoms are urgent, it may be necessary that inhalations should be used every four or five hours; but in ordinary cases I usually recommend them to be employed once or twice a day.

It is necessary to instruct patients commencing the treat

ment the proper times for inhaling. for otherwise they are often tempted by the soothing and delightful sensations produced upon the irritated or painful chest (which, indeed, cannot be imagined by those who have not felt them), to have recourse to it too often; sometimes, indeed, they cannot easily be persuaded to lay it aside when no longer necessary.

With the hope of having convinced the reader of its RATIONALITY, PHILOSOPHY, and ORTHODOXY, I shall now proceed to demonstrate the

PRACTICAL RESULTS OF THE TREATMENT BY MEDICATED INHALATIONS.

In the practice of medicine, a few incontrovertible facts, which are the only basis of accurate knowledge, are worth a thousand theories or conjectures; the latter, when unsupported by evidence, are found to be but of little avail in the day of trial. Truly has Cicero remarked-Opinionum commenta delet dies, natura judicia confirmat" speculative opinions may pass away, whilst inferences drawn from nature and truth remain permanently on record." The following cases have therefore been extracted from the author's minutebook, as positive testimony of the efficacy of medicated inhalation in the treatment of diseases of the respiratory organs.

I might have adduced a vast number of other conclusive proofs of the success of this treatment, but I have a great aversion to a parade of cases, and have therefore chiefly confined myself to the narration of those instances of recovery, which have already appeared in my former treatises on this subject, and which have been tested by the lapse of time.

CASE I. CONSUMPTION.-A gentleman requested me to see his son on May 2nd, 1836. The boy was about thirteen years of age, of a fair complexion, and scrofulous diathesis.

D

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »