Ellen G. White Writings

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The Health Reformer

September 1, 1866

Drug Medication

There is a disposition with many parents, to keep up a perpetual dosing of their children with medicines. They will always have a supply on hand, and when any slight indisposition is manifested, caused by overeating or exhaustion, the medicine is poured down their throats; and if that does not satisfy them, they send for the doctor. If he is an honest physician, and declines to give the child medicine because he is wise enough to know it will be for its hurt, the parents are offended and think the physician inefficient, and send for another, who is less conscientious, and who will give medicine to satisfy the parents, who were blinded by ignorance in regard to the real condition and need of their child. And not unfrequently parents are so anxious to do all they can to save their child, that they change physicians, having two or three to attend the same case. The child is drugged to death, and the parents console themselves that they have done all they could, and wonder why it must die when they did so much to save it. Upon the grave stone of that child should be written, Died, of drug Medication.

Many parents substitute drugs for judicious nursing. I have seen parents in constant terror, lest a breath of air should come upon their children. They place them perhaps in a crib or cradle near a hot stove. Their faces are red from heat, and they are pressed for air, and almost gasping for breath. But the mother does not seem to understand their wants. She thinks her children sick, and runs for a cordial which only stupefies them, but makes them no better. The only cordial the suffocated, suffering innocent needed, was pure, fresh air. Several instances have come under my notice, where children were being murdered by inches by the mistaken kindness of parents. They deprived them of air as though it were a deadly poison. The rich blessing which Heaven has freely bestowed upon all, was not allowed to come to their children. I have stood by the cradle of these abused innocents thus unwisely nursed, and have felt indignant at the cruel course pursued with them. I have stripped the coverings from the cradle, and opened the window, and let in the richest of heaven's earthly blessing,—pure, fresh air,—to the immediate relief of the sufferers.

Children also are fed too frequently, which produces fever and suffering in various ways. The stomach should not be kept constantly at work; it should have its periods of rest. Without it, children will be peevish and irritable, and frequently sick. The parents do not trace the existing effect to the true cause—a transgression on their part—but hasten for a doctor, expecting that he will set things all right. The mother abuses the laws which govern that child's life, and then commits another transgression by interfering with nature in introducing poisonous drugs into the system. Children who might have retained a good constitution, are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Many die prematurely, and others live to be life-long sufferers, a burden to themselves and to society. Who is to blame for all this weight of evil? not our kind Creator surely, for he does not take pleasure in seeing his creatures suffer. He wishes them to be healthful and happy. The parents and physicians are the instruments who have caused this weight of woe. They were ignorant of the terrible wake they left behind them. Ignorance is sin, when knowledge can be obtained. Parents should read and inform themselves in regard to the laws God has established in our beings. Instead of trying to allay with medicine every trifling complaint, they might trace the disturbance to some defect in their nursing, or a change made in their food, air, clothing, or exercise, and they would be rewarded for their investigation, by soon seeing a change for the better.

Parents should give their children abundance of fresh air. If they have kept them smothered with flannels, with windows and doors closed, fearing they would get their death of cold, let them make haste and reform, if they would save their children. You have not given the body any chance to breathe through the millions of little mouths which nature has provided for it; and in consequence, these pores have become clogged, and cannot perform the task allotted them, and so the internal organs have a double task thrown upon them, and the whole system is deranged. But now the doctor must be sent for, and if the little patients live through the terrible ordeal he prescribes, the credit is given to his skill, when the only reason they lived was, because they had a stronger hold on life than most such small members of the human family have.

E. G. White.

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