A cure for leprosy in Hawaii? 1865.

[For the Kuokoa]

Leprosy [“Chinese Disease”]

An Answer.

To you Doctor Gulick [Kauka Kulika]; Aloha oe:—

In the Mar. 30th issue of the Kuokoa, on page 2, there is a statement, “I have been told that Doctor Baldwin [Kauka Baluina] has cured some patients of this type. Is this true? If this is true, he should tell us.” It is to this question that I am responding to. It is indeed true, some people were cured with the medicine I am administering to those with the “Chinese disease.” Five are the number of those who ingested the medicine here in Lahaina. Three of them were totally cured; two, did not follow the instructions for the medicine and followed after this medicine and that medicine Hawaiians are taking for the “mai Pake.” Therefore, I’ve given up on that medicine [for those two]. I’ve given the medicine to a woman in Koolau, Oahu and I’ve heard that her “mai Pake” is somewhat better.

I did not consider prescribing this medicine to a great number of patients from the beginning; but instead to wait, and to see the affects of the medicine and if it was effective or not. Therefore, I watched carefully the people I cared after here in Lahaina; and I am hopeful that all the leprosy patients will be cured with this medicine. Let us not boast, for medicine like this has been given in other countries, and it is said that some have been cured while the illness of other has been persistent. The “Chinese disease” is referred to amongst enlightened Doctors [Kahuna lapaau] as leprosy [lepera]; leprosy is its name; however this is not the exact same thing as the leprosy of the Israelites. Some Doctors from Europe say that if this is a new leprosy, it is curable; if it is an ancient leprosy, it cannot be cured. A skilled Doctor from France, he says, all of the leprosy patients he has seen, both the new and ancient types, are curable only with this medicine.

If we are talking about ancient leprosy, I will mention one of these maii Pake cured in Lahaina. It is a man who is over fifty years of age; he was afflicted with mai Pake for fourteen years; his eyes were swollen, and his ears were knobby, lumpy, swollen, shiny, and thick; his feet and fingers were swollen, and he could do no work. He was treated by the Doctors of Lahaina; I gave him a lot of medicine, without his illness lessening. And I came upon this medicine I am working with, and gave him a pill in the morning and one at night. That is how he took this medicine every day, and three months and a half went by. He was careful in what he ate. His illness lessened; and after those months were over, his disease was entirely cured. This is now a year that he’s been cured, and the disease has not reappeared.

This is ancient leprosy.

I will not say what the name of this medicine is, for it is a poison if an unskilled one uses it. It would not be good if a Hawaiian prescribed this medicine. It is only for educated Doctors and just for them.

I am not the only one with this medicine for leprosy. All of the Haole Doctors in Hawaii have it, and they know well how to prescribe it for leprosy patients. This medicine is made into a liquid sometimes; it is the same medicine. The doctors of Honolulu have prescribed this medicine and other medicines to some leprosy patients, and they were cured. The medicine Book speaks of this medicine as good for leprosy. Dr. Good of London, a haole that is brilliant in doctoring says, “There is no other medicine that is as powerful and good for curing leprosy in all lands.” I spoke with the doctors of Honolulu about this illness, and Dr. Judd made some medicine for me. Doctor Smith [Mika] of Koloa prescribed this drug, and told me that it is a good medicine. Doctor Wetmore [Wetemore] of Hilo assisted me greatly in this effort, and said, “Try this medicine for the leprosy patients in Lahaina.”

If this is how prepared the Haole Doctors are for this disease, where does the problem lie with leprosy amongst us? Here is the problem; most of the leprosy patients are terribly simpleminded. They want to get cured quickly and follow after this or that foolishness called a medicine that works. There are many Hawaiians, uneducated people, who are treating leprosy, prescribing this medicine and that, haole medicine as well as Hawaiian medicine. One person says, “You will be cured with awa.” There are many who are fond of pain killers [penikila]; some cut their flesh with a piece of glass; and some here in Lahaina persist in eating cat, because some Chinese said, if they eat cat meat, they will be cured. In the year 1863, there were 50 leprosy patients in Lahaina—ten of them died that year. The illness of some of them was not that severe, but they died. In my opinion, they died because of bad medical treatment. These days, some of us who have this disease, they are strong and fine; they have an appetite, and go around here and there, but while they are strong, they die all of a sudden. What is tha about? His doctor is blind. It would be good to punish them for murder.

This land will be blessed by the good law for the leprosy patients that was passed this year. Those people must be segregated, or the land will be full of that horrible thing. I do not believe that it is right to put the patients on a ship and send them to another island, or the islands will become infested. It would be better that there be some small buildings where they are to live—two on Hawaii, two on Maui, and one on Oahu, and so forth. If it is done correctly, and if it is the Haole Doctor that does the treating, I am hopeful that in less than five years’ time, leprosy will be gone from the land.

With aloha,

D. Baldwin.

[Read this article, and then read the following post…]

(Kuokoa, 4/13/1865, p. 1)

Mai Pake.

Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke IV, Helu 15, Aoao 1. Aperila 13, 1865.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s