Time was when the advocate of a specific was laughed at by the scientific world, but since it is known that so many forms of disease are the direct result of some kind of germ life, it is no longer a misnomer to call a medicine which will certainly and always destroy the germ which produces so many forms of disease a specific.
In the light of this definition, founded upon the experience of forty years' successful practice in treating this form of disease with creosote, the writer is prepared to indorse the heading of this article. Having used all the different remedies ordinarily prescribed, they have long since been laid aside, and this one used in all forms of the disease exclusively, and with uniform success.
In 1863 it was the writer's fortune to spend several weeks in a military hospital in Memphis as a volunteer surgeon, under the direction of Dr. Lord. In conversation with him, the use of this article was mentioned, which appeared new to him, and a case was put under treatment with it, with such prompt favorable results as to elicit his hearty commendation, and, at his suggestion, Surgeon-General Hammond was informed of it.
All injuries, of whatever kind, have been treated with dressings of this remedy, and where this has been done from the first to last, in no instance has there been an attack of erysipelas.
The usual manner of application was in solution of six to twenty drops to the ounce of water, keeping the parts covered with cloths constantly wet with it. In ulcers or wounds it may be used in the form of a poultice, by stirring ground elm into the solution, the strength to be regulated according to the virulence of the attack. Ordinarily, ten drops to the ounce is strong enough for the cutaneous form of the disease and in dressings for wounds or recent injuries. If the inflammation threatens to spread rapidly, it should be increased to twenty or more drops to the ounce of water.
The antiseptic properties of this remedy render it of additional value, as it will certainly destroy the tendency to unhealthy suppuration, and thus prevent septicaemia.
In the treatment of hundreds of cases of erysipelas but one fatal case has occurred, and that one in an old and depraved system. In the less violent attacks no other remedy was used, but where constitutional treatment was indicated, the usual appropriate tonics were prescribed.
There is no question in my mind but that creosote is as much a specific in erysipelas as quinine is in intermittent fever, and may be used with as much confidence. - St. Louis Med. Jour.