During this era patients in the highest fevers were literally killed by dehydration by being denied water. Denial of water, despite an intense and persistent thirst, first drove the patient to madness and despair and then to death. Patients cried out for water, water, which an ignorant and barbarous school of medicine denied them. It was contrary to the teachings of the allopathic school of medicine to give water, inside or out, to a fever patient. Often the dying, when being granted their "last wish," were given the previously denied water and recovered. The sick body called for water, which was needed, and would have received it with gratitude and benefited from it, but the physicians denied it. No water was permitted to be drunk in typhus and typhoid for weeks at a time--not a drop of water, as such, was permitted. Fever patients were denied cold water that they clamoured for. They were permitted nothing but warm teas, warm balm tea being a favorite. Helpless little sufferers would stretch forth their small hands toward the water pitcher and piteously implore, hour by hour, those near to give a drink of cold water. What fiends parents became under the tutelage of their physicians! The young suffering with fever would cry out for water and the physicians would give them wine and even brandy. Due perhaps as much to the denial of water as to the accursed alcoholic medication, the fever raged and continued and the patients died in great numbers. An Alabama woman, writing in 1853, spoke of people "burning in the hell of fevers of every name and degree of intensity . . . spending weeks yearly in places of torment, asking in vain for water to cool their parched tongues."

Telling of her treatment by an allopathic physician, while she was suffering with typhoid fever, a woman writing in the December 1854 issue of the Journal says: "He even denied me the use of cold water." She pleaded to be permitted to put her hands into the water, as they were "dry and hot." Even this was denied her.

Dr. E. A. Kittredge, M.D., of Boston, writing under the pseudonym of Noggs in his "Diary of a New England Physician," describes some of his experiences while a medical apprentice. Suffice it to say that this description was given after he had abandoned the practice of medicine and some of the thoughts expressed may have been afterthoughts. He thus describes the cries of a child for water:

"'Mamma, do give me some cold water--will you, mamma? I'll be good, mamma, and take all the powders, if you will give me some cold water.'

"The mother replied: 'No, Johnny musn't ask me to give him cold water, for the doctor says it will make him all sick.'

"Oh! that piteous look," says the reminiscing physician, "as he turned his already glazing eyes upon me. I shall never forget; it seemed as if there was a voice in those deathly orbs--as if Nature herself was imploring me to have mercy; and, oh, the pang it cost me to refuse the darling boy--beautiful even in his deformity--his throat was swollen terribly; but I did though, and I gloated in my heroic courage; for I thought I was doing him a greater good than I could possibly do him in any other way."

He continues his narrative: "The fever lasted him nine days; and such a fever--being in a bed of embers was nothing to it, apparently, though it was dead of winter. He would kick every rag of clothes off as fast as they could put it on, tearing at his throat and mouth, and scratching his skin, like one insane and, as long as he could utter a sound, he kept day and night crying incessantly for 'water, cold water, do give me water--I want some cold water.' At last, when it was found the little sufferer must die, the 'Doctor!' said we might give him a little cold water!--and, would that I could describe the look of unutterable joy that lighted up the countenance of that dying child, as his fast failing sight beheld the limpid beverage coming towards him, and the avidity with which he attempted to seize the glass and held it."

Then, after a few remarks about the "poor worms" who, "under the plea of being true to science, trample upon the highest and holiest instincts of nature" he exclaims: "Science forsooth!--a bundle of dogmas--a heterogeneous comminglement of compound contrarieties--a mass of stale recipes and cruel formulas, smothered in bad Latin and Greek words--diametrically opposed to reason, to philosophy and to common sense--dubbed with the high-sounding title of 'science!'--you dare with this unnatural monster to frown down and stifle the voice of God crying aloud in the wilderness of man's living wants and desires, and thus frustrate the very laws of man's inmost being."

Returning to the boy, he says: "For hours the poor boy kept on crying for cold water, though entirely insensible, apparently, to everything else, when, as I have said, the doctor gave his consent to let him have some, as it was evident he could not live; but, even then, the friends dared not let him have half as much as he wanted, so thoroughly impressed were they with the belief that water taken cold was 'desperate bad for sick folks.' " Further reminiscing, Kittredge says: "Here was another thing that puzzled my brain--viz, why it was that anything so good for well folks, should be so bad for sick folks?"

Seeking a reply to this question he says: "I asked Old Deacon Connant, why nature craved what wasn't good for her?--thinking it might set my mind at rest, as he was supposed to be the most in the confidence of the Giver of all desires, of any man in that region. The Deacon replied that 'the desires of the human heart are sinful--very; and the unregenerate man is constantly craving for evil things.' This satisfied the old doctor, and almost everybody else in those parts; . . . "

"Oh, with what veneration did I worship the sage opinions of Cullen, Boerhaave, Gregory, Good, Eberle &c., &c. In those days I never dreamed of doubting anything that each man said! Such sage men, thought I, never would recommend sage tea, unless sage tea was worthy to be recommended; in fact, all kinds of herb teas were sage teas with me, in those days--so sage, in my eyes, were they who advised them!

"It puzzled me, I say, to find out why that which was so good for well folks should be so bad for sick folks; I thought there must be some mistake about it. Nature seemed to be so in earnest for cold water, especially when overcome with sickness; it seemed to be her only reliance. Where anything like fever prevailed, water was the cry from morn till night, from night till morn again, in all the cases I had seen; so forcibly did this strike me as a necessity of nature, that I tried very hard to get the old doctor to let me give one patient some cold water while there was yet hope for him; but no, so strongly welded to the practice of the ancients, and the custom of his fathers, was my venerable tutor, that he couldn't think of any such heresy! He said it was contrary to the laws of allopathy.