The Review and Herald


August 22, 1899

Disease and Its Causes

Drugs and Their Effects


Another scene was then presented before me. I was brought into the presence of a female, apparently about thirty years of age. A physician was standing by her, and reporting that her nervous system as deranged, that her blood was impure and moved sluggishly, and that her stomach was in a cold, inactive condition. He said he would give her active remedies, which would soon improve her condition. He gave her a powder from a vial upon which was written “Nux vomica.” I watched to see what effect this would have upon the patient. It appeared to act favorably. Her condition seemed better. She was animated, and even seemed cheerful and active. RH August 22, 1899, Art. B, par. 1

My attention was then called to still another case. I was introduced into the sick-room of a young man who was in a high fever. A physician was standing by the bedside of the sufferer, with a portion of medicine taken from a vial upon which was written “Calomel.” He administered this chemical poison, and a change seemed to take place, but not for the better. RH August 22, 1899, Art. B, par. 2

I was then shown still another case. It was that of a female, who seemed to be suffering much pain. A physician stood by the bedside of the patient, and was administering medicine taken from a vial upon which was written “Opium.” At first this drug seemed to affect the mind. She talked strangely, but finally became quiet, and slept. RH August 22, 1899, Art. B, par. 3

My attention was then called to the first case, that of the father who had lost his wife and two children. The physician was in the sick-room, standing by the bedside of the afflicted daughter. Again he left the room without giving medicine. The father, when alone in the presence of the physician, seemed deeply moved, and inquired, impatiently, “Do you intend to do nothing? Will you leave my only daughter to die?” RH August 22, 1899, Art. B, par. 4

The physician said: “I have listened to the sad history of the death of your much-loved wife and your two children, and have learned from your own lips that all three died while in the care of physicians, and while taking medicines prescribed and administered by their hands. Medicine has not saved your loved ones; and as a physician, I solemnly believe that none of them need, or ought to, have died. They could have recovered if they had not been so drugged that nature was enfeebled by abuse, and finally crushed.” He stated decidedly to the agitated father: “I can not give medicine to your daughter. I shall only seek to assist nature in her efforts, by removing every obstruction, and then leave nature to recover the exhausted energies of the system.” He placed in the father's hand a few directions, which he enjoined him to follow closely: “Keep the patient free from excitement, and every influence calculated to depress. Her attendants should be cheerful and hopeful. She should have a simple diet, and should be allowed plenty of pure soft water to drink. She should bathe frequently in pure soft water, and this treatment should be followed by gentle rubbing. Let light and air be freely admitted into her room. She must have quiet and undisturbed rest.” RH August 22, 1899, Art. B, par. 5

The father slowly read the prescription, wondered at the few simple directions it contained, and seemed doubtful that any good would result from such simple means. RH August 22, 1899, Art. B, par. 6

Said the physician: “You have had sufficient confidence in my skill to place the life of your daughter in my hands. Withdraw not your confidence. I will visit your daughter daily, and direct you in the management of her case. Follow my directions with confidence, and I trust in a few weeks to present her to you in a much better condition of health, if not fully restored.” RH August 22, 1899, Art. B, par. 7

The father looked sad and doubtful, but submitted to the decision of the physician. He feared that his daughter must die, if she had no medicine. RH August 22, 1899, Art. B, par. 8

The second case was again presented before me. The patient had appeared better under the influence of nux vomica. She was sitting up, folding a shawl closely around her, and complaining of chilliness. The air in the room was impure. It was heated, and had lost its vitality. Almost every crevice where pure air could enter was guarded, to protect the patient from a sense of painful chilliness, which was especially felt in the back of the neck and down the spinal column. If the door was left ajar, she seemed nervous and distressed, and entreated that it should be closed, for she was cold. She could not bear the least draft of air from the door or windows. A gentleman of intelligence stood looking pityingly upon her, and said, to those present: “This is the second result of nux vomica. It is especially felt upon the nerves, and it affects the whole nervous system. There will be, for a time, increased forced action upon the nerves. But as the strength of this drug is spent, there will be chilliness and prostration. Just to the degree that it excites and enlivens will be the deadening, benumbing results following.” RH August 22, 1899, Art. B, par. 9

The third case was again presented before me. It was that of the young man to whom was administered calomel. He was a great sufferer. His lips were dark and swollen. His gums were inflamed. His tongue was thick and swollen, and the saliva was running from his mouth in large quantities. The intelligent gentleman before mentioned looked sadly upon the sufferer, and said: “This is the influence of mercurial preparations. This young man had sufficient nervous energy remaining to begin a warfare upon this intruder, this drug poison, to attempt to expel it from the system. Many have not sufficient life-force left to arouse to action; and nature is overpowered, ceases her efforts, and the victim dies.” RH August 22, 1899, Art. B, par. 10