Page:Alcohol, a Dangerous and Unnecessary Medicine.djvu/393

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385
ALCOHOL AS A MEDICINE.

statements upon the fallacy of the general ideas of stimulation. So interesting are his views that they are incorporated here :—

"Sir B. W. Richardson, M. D., who was unable to be present, communicated (through the secretary) his annual report as physician to the hospital. After twelve months further trial of the treatment of all kinds of disease in this institution without the assistance of alcohol, either as a diet or a medicine, he (Sir B. W. Richardson) was fully sustained in the belief that the plan pursued had been attended with every possible advantage. About 500 cases had come under his observation and treatment as in previous years, and these cases had been of the most varied kind, including all patients who were not directly suffering from contagious disease. In not one instance had alcohol been administered, nor had anything like it been used in the way of a substitute, and there had not been a single case in which he could conceive that it was ever called for, while the success which had attended the treatment generally had been superior to anything he had ever seen following upon the administration of alcoholic stimulants. One great truth which had forced itself upon him had reference to the doctrine of stimulation generally. It had been one of the grand ideas in medicine that there came times when sick people were benefited by being stimulated. It was argued that they were low, and in order that they might be raised and brought nearer to the natural life they required something like alcohol to quicken the circulation, quicken the secretion, and help to preserve the vitality. But the experience which was learned here tended to show in the most distinct manner that that very old and apparently rational idea was fallacious. Such stimulation only tended ultimately to wear out the powers of the body, as well as change the physical conditions under which the body worked. True lowness meant practical over-fatigue, and when the body was spurred on, or stimulated, over-fatigue was