Selected writings of John M. Scudder.
While advocating temperance, not teetotalism, Dr. Scudder sets forth the sharp indications for the use of alcohol as a medicine. In this editorial we believe most thoughtful physicians will concur. It must be remembered that this was written at a time when alcoholics were widely used in treatment; therefore his discrimination was all the more timely and has been largely endorsed in the practice of to-day.—Ed. Gleaner.
THE INDICATIONS FOR ALCOHOLIC STIMULANTS.—That no one may plead ignorance in extenuation of the promiscuous prescription of alcoholic stimulants, let me give in few words the symptoms calling for their use:
If in acute disease there is great exhalation, with a soft or open pulse, cool extremities, and a tongue inclined to be moist, alcoholic stimulants may be used with benefit.
I desire to lay stress on the word exhaustion, for that is the object of their use. The conditions named are those which will permit the exhibition, and allow the liquor to be kindly received and appropriated.
It is a very gross mistake to suppose that the benefit comes from stimulation of the cerebro-spinal centers. In these cases alcohol is food—calorifacient or heat producing—and its good effects come from its burning, and from the force thus generated.
If we wish a nerve stimulant, we would take Quinine, Strychnia. Phosphorus, Ammonia, or remedies of this kind.
The ordinary prescription of alcoholic liquors to persons suffering from chronic disease, and who are on their feet, or to persons who are over-working themselves, to enable them to further expend the capital of life, is a serious evil, and can not be too strongly reprobated.
I care not whose corns I may be treading upon here, this is the truth, and I supplement it with the additional statement— that the physician who persistently prescribes alcoholic stimulants is usually a lover of them himself, and will in many cases become a drunkard.—SCUDDER, Eclectic Medical Journal. 1874.
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"It is a law of the universe 'that like causes always produce like effects,' or to reverse it, 'that like effects always flow from like causes.' "—Specific Medication, p. 9.
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The Biographies of King, Howe, and Scudder, 1912, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M. D.