Ten weeks ago John Carberry, of Newark, America, was a strong, robust, medium-sized man, weighing just 147 pounds and in enjoyment of perfect health.
Now he is a mere shadow of his former self, weighing no less than 90 pounds, and scarcely able to talk, much less move, lying on a couch at his parents’ home, anxiously awaiting death to relieve the terrible agony he is forced to endure.
His awful sufferings are due, apparently, to an attack of hiccoughs, which has baffled the skill of seven eminent American specialists, and appears to grow worse daily despite their efforts, as well as the hundred and one home rememdies usually applied in similar cases.
The most peculiar phase of Carberry’s affliction is the manner in which it was contracted. Ten weeks ago he stopped at his barber’s, according to his usual custom on Wednesday, to get shaved. While applying the lather, Carberry says, the barber used unusual force on the chin, and he was suddenly seized with an attack of hiccoughs. It became so violent he was forced to leave the chair before he had been shaved.
After sipping water and trying several other old-fashioned remedies without obtaining relief, Carberry left for the saloon where he was employed as bartender. He was rapidly growing worse, and unable to obtain relief went home and summoned a doctor after his mother had tried mustard plasters on the chest and throat, potato poultices, sugar and vinegar and several other household remedies.
The doctor prescribed and cheerily said when leaving that the patient would be all right the following day. But he was not, and another doctor was called in consultation. Another day passed without relief and a third doctor was added to the list of atttendants, without any better results.
The doctors were puzzled, the patient grew despondent, and the parents becoming seriously alarmed added four more in turn to the list of doctors. The seven physicians held consultation after consultation, applied all known remedies internal and external without affording the patient any apparent relief.
So it continued from day to day with the patient rapidly growing thin and emaciated, unable to sleep, eat or drink, and the awful hiccough recurring at regular intervals of 30 seconds, until the poor sufferer actually began to pray that death might come to his relief.
The case has attracted widespread attention, and hundreds of visitors call at the house daily to ascertain the condition of the patient.
The final outcome is watched with great interest by medical men and everyone of standing in the vicinity has been consulted as to the probable result of the strange malady.
The Western Mail, February 28, 1894.