Ellen G. White: The Australian Years: 1891-1900 (vol. 4)


The Successful Treatment of a Very Critical Case

The little struggling health institution soon proved its worth as Professor Herbert Lacey, having contracted typhoid fever during a visit in school promotion in Tasmania, was nursed back to health. On Friday, February 28, a telegram was received by his wife, Lillian, at Cooranbong to the effect that Lacey, desperately ill, would arrive by train in Sydney that day. Lillian hastened to Sydney and arrived just as her husband was arriving from Melbourne. They went immediately to the Health Home, where his case was thought to be typhoid fever. He had lost twenty pounds in one week, and his wife wrote that he was “very poor, nothing but skin and bones.” At the Health Home Elders Haskell and Baker were joined by Mr. Semmens in praying for his recovery (Letter 189, 1897). Semmens began using hydrotherapy treatments. Lillian reported to her husband's father, who resided at Cooranbong, that “Brother Semmens was using ice on his bowels” (Ibid.). His vitality was low, and when Ellen White learned of the ice remedy, she hastened off a telegram to Semmens, “Use no ice, but hot applications.”—Ibid. Of course there was a reason for this, as she explained in a letter to W. C. White: 4BIO 292.3

In several cases light had been given me that the ice remedy was not as efficacious as the hot water. I was afraid. His vitality, I learned, was very low and to put ice on head and chest I knew was a mistake. It would tax his vitality.... 4BIO 292.4

There must be no risk run over Herbert's case. I was not going to be so delicate in regard to the physician as to permit Herbert Lacey's life to be put out.... There might be cases where the ice applications would work well. But books with prescriptions that are followed to the letter in regard to ice applications should have further explanations, that persons with low vitality should use hot in the place of cold.... To go just as the book of Dr. Kellogg shall direct without considering the subject is simply wild. 4BIO 293.1

Hot fomentations in fever will kill the inflammation in nine cases out of ten where ice applications will, according to the light given me, tax the vitality unsafely. Here is where the danger comes in of not using judgment and reason in regard to the subject under treatment.—Ibid. 4BIO 293.2

A week later in reporting to her son, she mentioned the steps being taken in connection with Lacey's illness: 4BIO 293.3

The case is critical, but I believe the Lord will raise him up. We are praying for him. He is having everything done for him possible.... Brother Semmens gives his whole time to the sick man, and they are having Dr. Deek, who is watching the case of the hygienic methods of treatment with great interest. He says he is doing just as well as he could possibly do under this attack.—Letter 181, 1897. 4BIO 293.4

In her diary she noted: 4BIO 293.5

We have made his case a special subject of prayer. We wrote a few lines to him each day to call his attention to that which the Lord was ready and willing to do for him. The angels of God have presided over him all through his sickness.—Manuscript 172, 1897.

Ellen White rejoiced when on Friday, April 9, she could send her carriage to the railway station to meet Herbert Lacey and his wife. She reported, “He is feeling real well and means to engage in the school at its beginning. I am so pleased.” And she added: 4BIO 293.6

Brother Herbert walked from his father's to the meeting in the new building. He feels so well and we are so very thankful that the Lord wrought in his behalf, making Brother Semmens His human agent. He carried through the case without drugs. [Note: The reader should keep in mind that the medications referred to here were poisonous substances that when taken into the body left lasting, harmful effects and were quite unrelated to many of the medications employed now in the treatment of the sick.] W. C. White, the Lord has opened to me why so many cases are lost who have typhoid fever. They are drugged, and nature has not strength to overcome the drugs given them.—Letter 190, 1897. 4BIO 293.7