According to the enthusiastic advocates of this treatment among the “regular” physicians in this country, the antitoxin is a “certain cure” for diphtheria; but how is this claim borne out by actual facts?
The Health Bulletins sent regularly to every physician in the City of Chicago by the City Health Department show an average of from fifteen to twenty deaths every week from diphtheria treated with antitoxin.
I do not deny that the antitoxin treatment may have reduced somewhat the mortality percentage of this disease, allowing even for the great uncertainty of medical statistics. But we of the Nature Cure school claim and can prove that the hydropathic treatment of diphtheria shows a much lower percentage of mortality than the antitoxin treatment.
The crucial point to be considered in this connection is: What are the after-effects of the different methods of treatment?
This is a very important matter. I make the following claims: that the antitoxin, being itself a most powerful poison, may be and often is the direct cause of paralysis, or of death due to heart-failure. That diphtheria treated with antitoxin may be and often is followed by paralysis, heart-failure, or lifelong invalidism of some kind after the patient has apparently recovered from the disease. That these undesirable after-effects of diphtheria do not occur when the disease is treated by natural methods, but that they are the result of the antitoxin treatment and of its suppressive effect upon. the disease.
To prove my claims, I submit the following facts: I have in my possession clippings from newspapers from different parts of the country stating that death had followed the administration of the diphtheria antitoxin for prevention or “immunization,” that is, where the individual had been in good health at the time the antitoxin was given.
Several cases of this kind created quite a sensation in Germany about fifteen years ago. Dr. Robert Langerhans, superintendent of the Moabit Hospital in Berlin, a strong advocate of the antitoxin treatment and also of vaccination, had been one of a committee of three appointed by the municipal government of the German metropolis to investigate the efficiency of the diphtheria antitoxin. As a result of his findings, he had recommended its free distribution to the poor of the City of Berlin.
Not long thereafter the doctor’s cook was suddenly taken ill with severe pains in the throat and sent to the hospital. It was thought to be a case of diphtheria, and the doctor, to protect his little son, one and one-half years old, against possible infection, administered an injection of antitoxin. Shortly afterward the child developed symptoms of blood-poisoning and died of heart-failure within twenty-four hours.
It is customary in Germany to insert a death-notice in one of the local newspapers and to invite the friends of the family to the funeral. In his announcement in the columns of the “Lokalanzeiger,” Dr. Langerhans stated explicitly that his little son had died after an injection of diphtheria antitoxin for immunization.