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Scurvy in adults is so rare a disease in this country that it seems worth while publishing this case:—

Mrs. X., aged 77, has for several months shown signs and symptoms pointing to carcinoma of the stomach. Owing to pain, vomiting, and flatulence, she had greatly restricted her diet, avoiding meat and taking neither fruit nor vegetables. She took milk, but only when boiled. I was sent for because of repeated bleeding from the nose and general malaise. A fortnight later I saw her again and found she had swollen, painful, and bleeding gums and her breath was very foetid. She was cachectic, depressed, and complained of feeling weak and ill. There were purpuric spots on the arms and legs. The right knee was swollen and painful and showed an ecchymosis on the surface. There was now no doubt about the diagnosis. With fresh milk, raw meat juice, and orange juice there was marked improvement in a few days. Potatoes and other vegetables were added to her diet. Three weeks later the patient was up and there were no signs of scurvy.

In Green’s Encyclopedia of Medicine and Surgery (1908) we find it stated, with reference to scurvy in adults, that “this disease is now chiefly of historical interest… It has become one of the rarest of diseases.” However, statistics show that it is not so very rare a disease, for in the decennial period 1906–1915 there were 403 deaths from scurvy in England and Wales, 31 in Scotland, and 25 in Ireland. From the recent report of the Glasgow Health Committee (“British Medical Journal,” 7th July, 1917) we see that whilst, normally, three or four cases are admitted annually into the Poor Law Hospitals of Glasgow, there were admitted between 15th February and 27th June of this year no less than fifty cases, with one death, and all the cases were in men who were dwellers in model lodging-houses. It has been suggested that the outbreak is due to the recent shortage of potatoes, the only form of fresh vegetable which this class of patient is accustomed to prepare.

This case opens up the interesting and difficult question of diet in stomach cases. The old lady had left off fruit and vegetables partly on medical and partly on her own advice; but since she has been taking these articles of diet, pain, vomiting, and flatulence, such marked symptoms before, have all disappeared.

Since writing the above, I have ascertained that four deaths (all of males) from scurvy were registered in New Zealand in 1906, but none during the ten years 1907 to 1916.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

For the PDF of this article, contact
communications@nzma.org.nz

View Article PDF

Scurvy in adults is so rare a disease in this country that it seems worth while publishing this case:—

Mrs. X., aged 77, has for several months shown signs and symptoms pointing to carcinoma of the stomach. Owing to pain, vomiting, and flatulence, she had greatly restricted her diet, avoiding meat and taking neither fruit nor vegetables. She took milk, but only when boiled. I was sent for because of repeated bleeding from the nose and general malaise. A fortnight later I saw her again and found she had swollen, painful, and bleeding gums and her breath was very foetid. She was cachectic, depressed, and complained of feeling weak and ill. There were purpuric spots on the arms and legs. The right knee was swollen and painful and showed an ecchymosis on the surface. There was now no doubt about the diagnosis. With fresh milk, raw meat juice, and orange juice there was marked improvement in a few days. Potatoes and other vegetables were added to her diet. Three weeks later the patient was up and there were no signs of scurvy.

In Green’s Encyclopedia of Medicine and Surgery (1908) we find it stated, with reference to scurvy in adults, that “this disease is now chiefly of historical interest… It has become one of the rarest of diseases.” However, statistics show that it is not so very rare a disease, for in the decennial period 1906–1915 there were 403 deaths from scurvy in England and Wales, 31 in Scotland, and 25 in Ireland. From the recent report of the Glasgow Health Committee (“British Medical Journal,” 7th July, 1917) we see that whilst, normally, three or four cases are admitted annually into the Poor Law Hospitals of Glasgow, there were admitted between 15th February and 27th June of this year no less than fifty cases, with one death, and all the cases were in men who were dwellers in model lodging-houses. It has been suggested that the outbreak is due to the recent shortage of potatoes, the only form of fresh vegetable which this class of patient is accustomed to prepare.

This case opens up the interesting and difficult question of diet in stomach cases. The old lady had left off fruit and vegetables partly on medical and partly on her own advice; but since she has been taking these articles of diet, pain, vomiting, and flatulence, such marked symptoms before, have all disappeared.

Since writing the above, I have ascertained that four deaths (all of males) from scurvy were registered in New Zealand in 1906, but none during the ten years 1907 to 1916.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

Contact diana@nzma.org.nz
for the PDF of this article

View Article PDF

Scurvy in adults is so rare a disease in this country that it seems worth while publishing this case:—

Mrs. X., aged 77, has for several months shown signs and symptoms pointing to carcinoma of the stomach. Owing to pain, vomiting, and flatulence, she had greatly restricted her diet, avoiding meat and taking neither fruit nor vegetables. She took milk, but only when boiled. I was sent for because of repeated bleeding from the nose and general malaise. A fortnight later I saw her again and found she had swollen, painful, and bleeding gums and her breath was very foetid. She was cachectic, depressed, and complained of feeling weak and ill. There were purpuric spots on the arms and legs. The right knee was swollen and painful and showed an ecchymosis on the surface. There was now no doubt about the diagnosis. With fresh milk, raw meat juice, and orange juice there was marked improvement in a few days. Potatoes and other vegetables were added to her diet. Three weeks later the patient was up and there were no signs of scurvy.

In Green’s Encyclopedia of Medicine and Surgery (1908) we find it stated, with reference to scurvy in adults, that “this disease is now chiefly of historical interest… It has become one of the rarest of diseases.” However, statistics show that it is not so very rare a disease, for in the decennial period 1906–1915 there were 403 deaths from scurvy in England and Wales, 31 in Scotland, and 25 in Ireland. From the recent report of the Glasgow Health Committee (“British Medical Journal,” 7th July, 1917) we see that whilst, normally, three or four cases are admitted annually into the Poor Law Hospitals of Glasgow, there were admitted between 15th February and 27th June of this year no less than fifty cases, with one death, and all the cases were in men who were dwellers in model lodging-houses. It has been suggested that the outbreak is due to the recent shortage of potatoes, the only form of fresh vegetable which this class of patient is accustomed to prepare.

This case opens up the interesting and difficult question of diet in stomach cases. The old lady had left off fruit and vegetables partly on medical and partly on her own advice; but since she has been taking these articles of diet, pain, vomiting, and flatulence, such marked symptoms before, have all disappeared.

Since writing the above, I have ascertained that four deaths (all of males) from scurvy were registered in New Zealand in 1906, but none during the ten years 1907 to 1916.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

Contact diana@nzma.org.nz
for the PDF of this article

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