I called attention in the early part of the past year to Doctor Burgess' little work on the use of epsom salts. The conditions for which the doctor suggested this remedy are so varied, and his statements so enthusiastic, that but few will receive his conclusions with credence.
Whether his statements have had any influence in the bringing out the investigation of this remedy or not, we are not prepared to say. It is more than likely that they have; but very many have become enthusiastic concerning the action of this simple remedy in conditions in which it has not been previously used.
He refers frequently to its external influence in controlling pain, but he says nothing about the hypodermic use of the remedy as an anesthetic. The public press has recently announced that Doctor Samuel J. Meltzer, of the Rockefeller Institution for Medical Research, in New York, has recently discovered that a solution of the sulphate of magnesia injected over the course of a nerve, or at its origin, produces local or general anesthesia according to its application.
The claim is, that at one time, after injecting a quantity of the solution into a dog, the doctor noticed the respiration growing fainter and fainter, and finally respiration ceased with but little reduction of the heart's force or action.
This caused him to make another experiment on a dog, when he found that without any influence upon the temperature, a very satisfactory anesthesia was induced. He is reported as then having tried it on several patients with very excellent results.
In one case where the patient was dying from lockjaw, after having had the various serums and all authorized treatment, improvement set in after the very first injection of epsom salts, and continued until the patient recovered. We shall look with some impatience for the doctor's report of his observations on the action of this remedy.
Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.