Henry N. Guernsey, M.D. A case

The following article on clinical cases was originally published in “The Hahnemannian Monthly” Volume 6,   August 1870.

Clinical Experience

By Henry N. Guernsey,M.D.

Case 1.  Mrs. A., of Delware, called on me a few weeks since, complaining of what she termed dyspepsia. Upon asking her to relate her symptoms in the order of their severity as it seemed to her, she replied, that a feeling of emptiness or goneness in her stomach discomforted her more than anything else, but she thought it of no account, as she vomited all her food soon after taking it, and she would naturally feel emptiness and goneness from want of food. I desired her to state merely facts, and I would draw my own conclusions. She replied: “It is a fact that I vomit nearly all my food; I have a painful sensation of emptiness in my stomach all the time; my sleep is broken and does not refresh me, my bowels are very costive, the stools being knotty and very difficult, and they have scarcely been moved for two years without an injection, and I do not think they would be moved now at all without an injection; my urine is cloudy and offensive, and a hard crust settles, that it is difficult to scrape from the vessel; I am very weak and miserable, have spent over two hundred dollars during the past two years for medicine, and despair of becoming any better; but I was compelled by my husband to consult you.”

I always prescribe sepia when a train of symptoms like the above in italics occur in a single case. In this case I gave the patient a few pellets of Sepia 55 m, dry on her tongue, and three packages containing twelve powders each of sac.lac.; one to be taken every night; and enjoined upon her that she should on no account resort to any more injections or other measures for the relief of her bowels, or of other symptoms, and to report to me in forty days. She thought she would not live to see me again if she were to leave off taking injections.

A few days ago she reported that she had not vomited since seeing me, her vowels had become regular very soon, and that she had no need of injections; indeed, she said, she got well so fast her husband was frightened. He was coming to the city that day on business, and he wished her to come and ask particularly what had been the matter, as she had been so sick so long, and now had gotten so well so soon. He did not understand it.

Sepia 55m, a single dose, always produces similar results in similar cases, if plenty of time is allowed the single dose to act. I do not give my experience hastily, nor base it on a single case. I only delineate my path where it has been well trodden; that others may follow it is safety.


2 responses to “Henry N. Guernsey, M.D. A case

  1. Er, uh… on the other hand…there are many striking cures made with one dry dose of the homeopathic remedy.

    A very high potency, 55m. I recall a case of Fincke’s where he gave a girl with eczema an even higher potency of sulphur and she ended up in such agony that she scraped her skin off with a sharp knife.

    Using the rubrics in TPB 359;410;971 gives sepia as top remedy.

    The empty, gone sensation in the stomach and the vomiting of food and constipation, adherent sediment in the offensive urine, weakness, despair are keynotes of the remedy. Guernsey invented keynote prescribing didn’t he?

  2. If we only consider the symptoms: Vomiting food (359), constipation/hard stools (410) and feeling of emptiness (971) we get Sepia as first choice – but followed by 37 remedies which share those three symptoms. I would add: Knotty stools (419), sandy, stony sediment of urine (470), cloudy urine (445) and offensive urine (456). Then, I am left with Sepia and Sulphur to make a choice. This choice is not easy. I used Hahnemann´s Chronic Diseases (CK): Sepia is not very strong for vomiting (it is stronger for nausea), while sulphur gains more points here. In constipation with knotty stools, they are equal: Symptoms No. 743, 747 (CK) for sepia, 850-856 (CK) for sulphur. Also, the cloudy and offensive urine is mentioned for both remedies in CK (sepia: 835-838 CK; sulphur: 969, 974, 975 CK) . I perceived sepia as more strong in the stains the patient´s urine leaves in the vessel (470 CK), and in the sensation of hollowness (CK 715) as opposed to the feeling of fullness (CK 712) sulphur typically exposes.
    The entire case presented by Guernsey is found in shortened form in the “Guiding Symptoms” by C.Hering, chapter Sepia.

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