Rush, Stewart, Physic, Watt, Graves, O'Beirne, Munk, Bell, and others. All modern experience, however, is adverse to its employment; and the majority of those cases which are recorded as having been cured by its influence appear to have partaken more of the nature of Bronchitis than of Phthisis, or perhaps have been cases of syphilitic disease of the lung. From the injurious effects of Mercury upon other forms of tubercular disease, we should expect positive harm from it in Phthisis. An
* Lectures, vol. ii. p. 93. On Diseases of the Lungs and Heart, Edit. 1854, p. 436.
Brit, and For. Med. Rev., No. xxx.
occasional mercurial purgative may, however, be of benefit in this disease, when the state of the digestive organs and the secretions show much biliary derangement. Dr. Graves' * observations on the use of Mercury in Phthisis are well worthy of careful perusal.
1388. Diseases of the Throat, Fauces, &c. In Inflammatory Croup, Mercury is strongly advocated by Dr. Hamilton, of Edinburgh, Rush, Frank, Michaelis, and others. It is, without doubt, a remedy of great value in this disease, as it immediately tends to control the inflammatory action, to arrest the secretion of the adventitious membrane, as well as to cause absorption of the latter when effused. If Tartar Emetic in repeated nauseating doses and hot baths fail to remove the urgent symptoms, Calomel should be had recourse to without loss of time. From gr. j. to ij. may be given every one or two hours, according to the urgency of the case; and Ung. Hydrarg. F. may be rubbed into the arms and legs, until the system has become sensibly affected by it. This is the line of practice strongly advised by Dr. D. Davis, and will frequently be found efficacious. Cloths, steeped in water as hot as can be borne, should be assiduously applied to the chest and throat.
1389. In Acute Laryngitis, Calomel is the sheet-anchor; it should be given at the outset of the disease, and in such doses as to bring the system under its influence with the greatest rapidity. Dr. C. B. Williams states that he has more confidence in the power of Mercury to cure Laryngitis, than in that of bloodletting; looking upon the latter as chiefly useful in retarding the progress of inflammation and effusion, so as to allow the mineral to act before a fatal obstruction is produced. Inunction may be employed simultaneously with its internal use. If the gums can be made sore, a secretion from the throat is established, which generally reduces the swelling of the glottis.
1390. In Chronic Laryngitis (not of phthisical origin), a milder mercurial course, but such as slightly to affect the gums, is the best treatment. When this takes place, there is generally a diminution of pain, and of the constriction of the larynx; improvement of voice, and loosening of the cough. Leeches and blisters may be applied with advantage at the same time. It is particularly useful when the disease has a venereal origin. (Williams.§)