By Dr. J. H. Peterman, Ardmore, Okla.
Empirical prescribing will not accomplish any more than it will for adults. It is necessary to individualize and prescribe for the patient not the disease only. No matter how tiny and insignificant, it has its individuality, calling for a close discrimination between the remedies. Look at it closely, for we have only objective symptoms and the family history to guide us. It may be plump or lean, fresh looking or old and withered, cross or good natured, stupid or bright. Parts of the body may be emaciated, the abdomen large, the head too big, the fontanelles open wide. We may encounter asphyxia probably. Camphor will restore it. It may even arouse it from apparent death. Where the face is purple and pulse imperceptible, potentized opium may do.
In cases where there is much loss of blood by the mother, the infant pale or anaemic, cinchona to both. Arnica is the remedy after labor unless another remedy is clearly indicated. It is good practice to give the medicine for baby to the mother, if she nursea it, which, of course, she should. Babies should not be brought up on the bottle. Even if there is no milk at first, it will appear in most cases if the baby is put regularly to the breast.
The eyes of the baby must be wiped as soon as the head is delivered. If they become inflamed or discharge, Merc. or Sulph. I like the old, usual way of using some of the mother’s milk in it prepares the child for the teething period. Antim, tart. is the most useful in catarrh, where there is dyspnoea. Nux vom. And Kali bichrom, where the nose is stopped up, also Kali Spongia. In membranous croup, Brom, Iodine, Kali brom. For retention of urine, Apis. Colic is one of the most distressing ailments of children, it is only the outcome of disorder and must be treated for the cause. Prescribing correctly for the infant, inherited tendencies to disease may be overcome. The skin eruptions – what untold misery results from their suppression by the numerous salves and smears, when a few doses of Sulphur, Calc. or other antipsorics would cure the patient for life. Last, but not least.
In my forty-seven years of practice I had no death of a mother through confinement.
It was law with me: If you want me to be with you during that, I must have you under my care before.
This should be absolute law with us. The “twilight sleep” in confinement is criminal! The mother needs all her life force in that act, it must not be put to sleep; it is idiocy unworthy of our profession!