It was in 1851, on one of those unsurpassably hot mornings that prevail here in August, that I was summoned to see a case of cholera at a great distance. A Redemptorist Father had been with him during the night, and finding his apparently homeopathic treatment not as successful as he desired wished further advice. The patient was an emaciated, sharp-faced German, a tailor, about 50 years old. He had indulged on the previous day for his supper in blood pudding and cucumber salad.
He was taken about 11 P.M. with Asiatic Cholera; he still continued to vomit and to be purged, with violent cramp at short intervals. All of these cramps and rice-water discharges ceased during that day, the principal remedy had been Arsenicum; but from that evening till the next evening he continued to vomit, and apparently was sinking from exhaustion.
Thirst was very great; he had to drink large quantities of cold water, and felt better afterwards, till the water became warm in his stomach in from fifteen to twenty minutes, and then he had to vomit it up again, to be relieved of this exhausting painful vomiting and thirst by drinking another large quantity of water.
A number of remedies administered produced not the slightest relief. The symptom found by the clinical experiment in this case-cold water drunk is vomited up as soon as it becomes warm in the stomach-was not to be found in our Materia Medica. But there was found, after a long search, under Phosphorus, in the fifth volume of Hahnemann's Chronic Diseases, Symptom 745: "In the most terrible agonies he vainly tried to vomit; only the drinking of cold water relieved.".
Nothing could be found in a search for a similar remedy but this symptom, and now we gave this suffering man one dose of Phosphorus 19m about 9 P.M., with the order to repeat it every two hours until he was relieved. On the next morning we found that he had been given no more than this solitary dose, and that he was rapidly improving. He recovered without needing any more medicine.
The case here briefly stated might be claimed to belong to the "Causes célèbres". Ever since this case was cured and published everybody has admitted into our Materia Medica this so frequently confirmed Phosphorus symptom-"vomiting of what has been drunk as soon as it becomes warm in the stomach".
Everybody knows it, and the knowing ones have and will continue to cure this not infrequently recurring symptom with Phosphorus. The case illustrates the manner in which our Materia Medica has been developed; how symptoms observed by provers only similar to the symptoms observed on the sick as the result of disease may be cured by a given drug, and that the confirmation of such cures entitle this symptoms - the result of the clinical experiment - to as much importance as if it had been observed on a dozen of provers. Upon reflection, the men who persistently insist in the sifting of our Materia Medica may think the better of it.