two, nearly. His mother brought him in to
discuss options, if any, to scheduled surgery for his anal fistula.
Todd had had a boil right next to the anus, and had it lanced by a
doctor. As is often the case, the drainage of pus left a pocket, which
opened into a crevice. Nice talk, isn't it.
true. A surgical resident told me so, as he was just about to lance the
ugliest boil I could ever imagine. It was an inch long at least, half an
inch wide, and immediately above the anus of a man, lying face down on an
examining table, whose legs and butt were the only things protruding from
under a white gown. At the time, I was a student observing at the
emergency and outpatient surgical section of a local hospital. I
rotated among several house staff, who showed me the ropes, among other
The resident put a
beige plastic cup between the guy's legs as he lay there,
spread-eagled. A few jabs of lidocaine, and then a single stab with the
knife. A fountain of white pus gushed from the incision. It was
several teaspoons, easily. Gross.
matter-of-factly said that the man would probably develop a fistula there,
which would need to be dealt with when it happened.
My mind came back to
the present, where Todd was wandering around my office, hauling a few toys
out of the box full I kept handy for bored kids. He looked over at his
Had Todd known what
was in store for him, he wouldn't have smiled at all. He was to travel
it," I said. "It is asking a lot of a vitamin to close up a fistula
without suturing it."
the trickle of pus that keeps oozing out?" the mother asked. "This
has been going on almost daily ever since the boil was drained."
is something that might help that," I said. "You could try a
homeopathic remedy called silicea. It is a harmless, over-the-counter
preparation that has been used for pus-producing conditions for over one
"Where do I
get the medicine?" asked Todd's mom. She was holding Todd, who was
trying to lie down all over her lap.
really a medicine; it is actually a microdilution of the main mineral in
common sand, silica."
mineral? That sounds safe enough. Where would I buy it?" she
said. Todd wiggled a bit to sit up.
food store. I have usually used the 6x potency with my kids. The
"X" is like the Roman numeral; it stands for ten. The
"6" means it has been diluted six successive times. That's less
than one part per million."
"Your kids had
fistulas, too?" asked the mom.
they've had a boil once or twice elsewhere, and so have I," I added.
"The silicea cleared it up in a day or two. Never had any medicine or
"Do you think
is will help Todd?" she asked.
I answered. "As long as you're waiting for the surgery anyway,
it's worth trying it in the meantime."
Because of the
number of time I'd seen silicea work, I was actually pretty confident that it
would stop the pus problem. And, because of what I'd seen of fistulas,
that's all I expected.
An excited, joyful
woman was on the phone a week later.
is gone!" said Todd's mother. "Not only did it stop the pus,
the fistula closed up! Could the silicea have done all that?"
with success," I said. "Take Todd into his pediatrician and
have her have a look."
that!" said the mom. "We canceled the surgery!"
Calls like that
make my day. Calls like that make surgeons mad.
I'm reminded of
Alonzo J. Shadman, MD. Dr. Shadman was a surgeon, and ran his own 150
bed hospital in
Being a homeopath,
Dr. Shadman used remedies like silicea. That alone is often enough to
get you kicked out of the AMA. But Shadman went a big step further. In
his 1958 book Who is Your Doctor and Why, he narrates how he'd make
the rounds and give homeopathic remedies to patients on the eve of their
scheduled surgeries. So many of them got better, so fast and so
completely, that operations were being canceled left and right. Shadman
made a lot of enemies among the surgeons.
When he did do
surgery, Shadman used no blood. He said, "I never gave a blood
transfusion and I never had a patient die from lack of it." Dr.
Shadman gave IVs of essential fluids, such as Ringer's solution or other
electrolyte solutions, but never blood. He said that foreign substances
like whole blood tax the recovering patient, making complications and death
all the more likely. Since the body makes new red blood cells so
quickly, restoring a person's counts to normal in just days, Shadman believed
and demonstrated, literally thousands of times, that transfusions are
When I was a boy, a kid my age that lived down the street was a Jehovah's Witness. He and his family were very nice people and we became friends. Among the things that had always puzzled me was the Witnesses' refusal to accept a blood transfusion. Still puzzled as an adult, I asked for and promptly received a copy of the Witnesses' booklet explaining their reasons. I admit that I was surprised at the quality of scholarship and research that supports their views. No, I did not convert. But I do think there is much to be learned by not closing our minds . . . or our doors. You do not need to change your faith in order to consider that maybe you do not need to change your blood, either.