Trall said of pneumonia: "The pain in the lungs may be very severe, the cough extremely violent, the breathing exceedingly distressing, the fever intense and the patient utterly prostrated, with no danger of dying, providing nothing is done amis . . ." He said that even in very severe cases, "in a day or two, sometimes in a few hours, and in the worst cases, within a week, the patient will be fairly convalescent." "We have long been convinced that pneumonia is not intrinsically a dangerous disease. The fatality in the majority of cases at least results from the treatment. We have never heard of a single case being lost among the hundreds which have been treated hygienically. Because the symptoms are violent, the medicines are apt to be powerful and doses large; and therein is the danger."
Drug relief is an enemy in disguise. It is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Drug symptoms get mixed up with symptoms of disease and the physician cannot tell one from the other. Too many pneumonia patients were killed by anodynes given to relieve pain and by drugs to relieve coughing. Sedatives and anodynes make pneumonia a very dangerous disease. Confirming the contentions of Hygienists concerning the superiority of Hygienic care in pneumonia and the deadliness of drug treatment in this disease is the experience of Prof. Austin Flint, M.D., of the New York Medical College, who was in the habit of treating pneumonia patients in Bellevue Hospital without a particle of drug. Lecturing on this disease before his medical classes, he asserted that in the hospital where he used no drugs, he lost no cases. But he added that it would not do not to give drugs in private practice.
Dysentery, diarrhea, flux, cholera infantum, etc., were classed together as "summer complaint." The death rate in summer complaint was high, especially in infants and children. Patients were dosed with opium, alcohol, other stimulants and narcotics, aggravated and embarrassed with antiphlogistics, calomel, antimony, pepper and turpentine and thwarted with such revulsives as emetics, purgatives and blisters. In addition to the drugging, it was common to stuff these patients on mutton-broth, beef-tea, chicken-soup, panada, wine, whey and other slops.
Instead of recognizing diarrhea as an action of the body designed to free the digestive tract of unwanted and non-usable material, to be permitted to accomplish its remedial work, every effort was made to suppress the action on the assumption that it was an evil, while the digestive tract, unable to digest food, not alone because of its diseased state but also because of the drugging, was stuffed with foods.
No wonder an outstanding member of the medical profession once likened disease to a frightful monster and the physician to a blind man armed with a club, dealing mortal blows in the dark, sometimes striking the disease, sometimes the patient and sometimes missing both. Unfortunately, in drug treatment the patient is never missed. Whether or not the disease is ever touched, poisonous doses never fail to impair the soundness and integrity of the patient. No man ever went through a course of drug-dosing and emerged unscathed.
Writing editorially of summer complaint in the Journal, August 1859, Trall said: "The patient should abstain entirely from food until fairly convalescent, and then use the simplest articles of diet very abstemiously." He again says in an August 1862 editorial of the same complaint: "The diet should be of the simplest and blandest kind, for a day or two; and until the violence of the disease is materially abated, none at all should be taken."
In advanced stages of cholera, after copious watery discharges from the stomach and bowels had greatly dehydrated the body, the extremities would be cold and pulseless with vigorous cramping in the legs at short intervals, the face would present a wild cadaverous appearance and the patient would be in a state of collapse. In such a condition all that the profession offered was more purging, more emesis, more narcotization, more bleeding, more foul air, no water to drink, meat slops and brandy. Little wonder the disease continued to defy the skill of the profession and the death rate continued high. There never was a virulent nor a severe disease, nor even a mild one that did not defy the skill of the profession. Indeed, the skill of the profession has always been more virulent than the disease. How absurd, the tinkering and torturing of the bodies of the sick!
Graham's opening lecture in New York City in 1832 was on cholera and this lecture was subsequently published in book form. The success of Hygienic means both in preventing cholera and in enabling the cholera patient to recover was phenomenal. The Hygienic rule in all acute disease is a simple one: go to bed, keep warm and abstain from food until comfort returns.
In his work on Cholera (1854) Joel Shew, M.D., says: "The diarrhea which so generally precedes the real attack of cholera should be treated like any other diarrhea, on general principles. It would be better for the individual to practice entire abstinence from all food--the hunger cure, as the Germans call it--until the diarrhea ceases." He adds that "pure water alone will sustain" the human body "wonderfully for even weeks. If you wish to cure diarrhea, effectually and without harm to the constitution, practice fasting and live on pure soft water until it ceases . . . Some will tell you that fasting produces disease, but physiology and pathology prove that neither fasting nor starvation causes any such result. The individual who is starved, having at the same time water to drink, dies of mere inanition and not of organic disease."
Nobody has yet provided a better plan of care for the individual suffering with sunstroke (heat stroke), than that given by Trall in the Journal, August 1853: "The patient wants rest and quiet, abundant ventilation, all the pure, fresh air possible, cold wet cloths to the head, and if the surface or extremeties are cold, bottles of hot water to the feet." I would add that no feeding should be attempted while the patient is in this state of collapse.
What a revealing commentary upon our state of health--that we cannot have two or three hot days without scores of human beings dropping dead of heat stroke and others collapsing from the same cause! Others become ill of "diseases peculiar to summer." The truly well do not suffer from increased temperature.
It is not unusual to have it said when health is recovered through the adoption of a Hygienic way of life that "there was not much wrong with him or he would not have responded so quickly to Hygiene." Of course not! Hygiene, unlike drugs and enervating palliatives, does not make people sick. How can a man be as sick, if he adopts a Hygienic plan of care, as he would be if he were drugged and enervated by treatments? When an acute disease is complicated with food and drugs, the patient will be very sick. Hygiene should not be censured because it fails to make the sick sicker and fails to kill.