The Strange Story of Mister Wright
From "The Psychobiology of Mind-Body Healing" by Ernest L. Rossi
Mr. Wright had a generalized far advanced malignancy involving the lymph nodes, lymphosarcoma. Eventually the day came when he developed resistance to all know palliative treatments. Also, his increasing anemia precluded any intensive efforts with X-rays or nitrogen mustard, which might otherwise have been attempted. Huge tumor masses the size of oranges were in the neck, axillas, groin, chest and abdomen. The spleen and liver were enormous. The thoracic duct was obstructed, and between 1 and 2 liters of milky fluid had to be drawn from his chest every other day. He was taking oxygen by mask frequently, and our impression was that he was in a terminal state, untreatable, other than to give sedatives to ease him on his way.
In spite of all this, Mr. Wright was not without hope, even though his doctors most certainly were. The reason for this was that the new drug that he had expected to come along and save the day had already been reported in the newspapers! Its name was "Krebiozen" (subsequently shown to be a useless, inert preparation).
Then he heard in some way that our clinic was to be one of a hundred places chosen by the Medical Association for evaluation of this treatment. We were allotted supplies of the drug sufficient for treating 12 selected cases. Mr. Wright was not considered eligible, since one stipulation was that the patient must not only be beyond the point were standard therapies could benefit, but also must have a life expectancy of at least three, and preferably six months. He certainly didn't qualify on the latter point, and to give him a prognosis of more than two weeks seemed to be stretching things.
However, a few days later, the drug arrived, and we began setting up our testing program which, of course, did not include Mr. Wright. When he heard we were going to begin treatment with Krebiozen, his enthusiasm knew no bounds, and as much as I tried to dissuade him, he begged so hard for this "golden opportunity," that against my better judgment, and against the rules of the Krebiozen committee, I decided I would have to include him.
Injections were to be given three times weekly, and I remember he received his first on on a Friday. I didn't see him again until Monday and thought as I came to the hospital the might be moribund or dead by that time, and his supply of the drug could then be transferred to another case.
What a surprise was in store for me! I had left him febrile, gasping for air, completely bedridden. Now, here he was, walking around the ward, chatting happily with the nurses, and spreading his message of good cheer to any one who would listen. Immediately I hastened to see the others who had received their first injection at the same time. No change, or change for the worse, was noted. Only in Mr. Wright was there brilliant improvement. The tumor masses had melted like snowballs on a hot stove, and in only these few days, they were half their original size! This is, of course, far more rapid regression than the most radio-sensitive tumor could display under heavy X-ray given every day. And we already knew his tumor was no longer sensitive to irradiation. Also, he had had no other treatment outside of the single useless "shot."
This phenomena demanded an explanation, but not only that, it almost insisted that we open our minds to learn, rather than try to explain. So, the injections were given three times weekly as planned, much to the joy of the patient, but much to our bewilderment. Within 10 days he was able to be discharged from his "death-bed," practically all signs of his disease having vanished in this short time. Incredible as it sounds, this "terminal" patient gasping his last breath through an oxygen mask, was now not breathing, and fully active, he took off in his plane and flew at 12,000 feet with no discomfort?
This unbelievable situation occurred at the beginning of the "Krebiozen" evaluation, but within two months, conflicting reports began to appear in the news, all of the testing clinics reporting no results. At the same time, the originators of the treatment were still blindly contradicting the discouraging facts that were beginning to emerge.
This disturbed our Mr. Wright considerably as the weeks wore on. Although he had no special training, he was, at times, reasonably logical and scientific in his thinking. He began to lose faith in his last hope which so far had been life-saving and left nothing to be desired. As the reported results became increasing dismal, his faith waned, and after two months of practically perfect health, he relapsed to his original state, and became very gloomy and miserable.
But here I saw the opportunity to double-check the drug and maybe, too, find out how the quacks can accomplish the results that they claim(and many of their claims are well substantiated). Know something of my patient's innate optimism by this time, I deliberately took advantage of him. This was for purely scientific reasons, in order to perform the perfect control experiment which could answer all the perplexing questions he had brought up. Furthermore, this scheme could not harm him in any way, I felt sure, and there was nothing I knew anyway that could help him.
When Mr. Wright had all but given up in despair with the recrudescence of his disease, in spite of the "wonder-drug" which had worked so well at first, I decided to take the chance and play the quack. So deliberately lying, I told him not to believe what he had just read in the papers, the drug was really most promising after all. "What then ," he asked, "was the reason for his relapse?" "Just because the substance deteriorated on standing," I replied, "a new super-refined, double-strength product is to to arrive tomorrow which can more than reproduce the great benefits derived from the original injections."
This news came as a great revelation to him, and Mr. Wright, as ill as he was, became his optimistic self again, eager to start over. By delaying a couple of days before the"shipment" arrived, his anticipation of salvation had reached a tremendous pitch. When I announced that the new series of injections was about to begin, he was almost ecstatic and his faith was very strong.
With much fanfare, and putting on quite an act (which I deemed permissible under the circumstances), I administered the first injection of the doubly potent, fresh preparation -- consisting of fresh water and nothing more. The results of this experiment were quite unbelievable to us at the time, although we must have had some suspicion of the remotely possible outcome to have even attempted it at all.
Recovery from his second near-terminal state was even more dramatic than the first. Tumor masses melted, chest fluid vanished, he became ambulatory, and even went back to flying again. At this time he was certainly the picture of health. The water injections were continued, since they worked such wonders. He then remained symptom-free for over two months. At this time the final AMA announcement appeared in the press--"nationwide test show Krebiozen to be a worthless drug in the treatment of cancer.
Within a few days of this report, Mr. Wright was readmitted to the hospital in extremis. His faith was now gone, his last hope vanished, and he succumbed in less than two days."