A press despatch that has been read this week by thousands...

Portland (Ore.) Telegram

A press despatch that has been read this week by thousands of Portlanders gives information that New York city health officials assert that antitoxin "checks" diphtheria in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred. The impression sought to be conveyed is that antitoxin cures or mitigates in ninety-nine cases in one hundred. Official statistics not only do not bear out this assertion, but they tell a story totally different. In Chicago, three years ago this winter, antitoxin was made compulsory for all diphtheria cases and contacts by order of the board of health. Nevertheless, one of the midwinter weekly bulletins of the health department (which I have preserved) showed a diphtheria mortality thirty-three percent greater than for the same period of the previous winter when the use of antitoxin was optional.

That antitoxin is not a harmless agent is evident from the numerous cases of death immediately following its use as an immunizer. I have a long list of such cases, as well as notes upon cases where illness followed the injection, one of these healthy persons being paralyzed for two of the three or four weeks of alleged immunity. This was the case of a Dalles woman. Another woman suffered with kidney trouble for a long time after being "immunized." In fact, many doctors recognize that serums injected into the blood are always followed by lasting morbid symptoms. A medical magazine published in St. Louis a few years ago contained a list of such symptoms and expressed the opinion that such patients never recovered their original normal condition. The failures of antitoxin are numerous. Dr. Louis D. Shipman of Minneapolis was a few years ago a locally distinguished throat specialist and member of the medical faculty of the state university. He had a case of diphtheria in his practice and contracted the disease himself. Antitoxin was used upon him daily for four successive days, at the end of which time he died—whether of diphtheria or antitoxin who can say?

March 9, 1912

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