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Intravenous Hydrochloric Acid for Treatment of Bacterial Infection


There is much in the news media of late of the great danger of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. We have a few bacteria now for which there is only one expensive antibiotic that will contain them. There is a dire warning that the time may not be far off when there will be deadly bacteria resistant to all antibiotics.

Here it is suggested that we go back and have a good look at intravenous infusions of 10cc of hydrochloric acid, from one part per in 500 to one part per 3,000.

This work originated with Burr Ferguson, MD of Birmingham, Alabama. During World War I he had been a battle surgeon in France where he was seeing the ravaging effect of bacterial infections in wounds. Dr. Ferguson picked up the concept of treating bacterial infections with intravenous hydrochloric acid from another surgeon, Dr. Granville Hains in 1927. Dr. Hains had been using intravenous hydrochloric acid one part per 3,000 in treating pruritus ani with success.

Dr. Ferguson then began treating many kinds of bacterial infections with success with intravenous infusion of 10cc of one in 1,000 hydrochloric acid. When he tried to publish his results he found that no leading medical journal would accept his reports.

There was a medical news magazine then that reported on topics that today may be called alternative medical treatments. It was called The Medical World. In 1932 as a student at Purdue University, I subscribed to it, I think for $5.00 a year. Dr. Ferguson wrote extensively for this publication and many not-too-orthodox doctors read what he wrote and treated bacterial infections with hydrochloric acid infusions. Some of them reported success in so doing in The Medical World.

Dr. Ferguson reported that very soon after an infusion of hydrochloric acid, there would be a marked increase in white cell count and in phagocytes; also that red cells had an increase in oxygen content. He suggested that one infusion of hydrochloric acid would increase oxygen in red cells in excess over what would result from maintaining the patient in an oxygen tent.

Dr. Ferguson reported that in treating gonorrhea with bladder irrigations of 1 in 1,000 hydrochloric acid, he was able to get negative smears in two days with even more rapid relief from the symptoms of burning and pain.

I am going to give one case here of the use of hydrochloric acid in treating a bacterial infection, a case to show its remarkable fast antibacterial effect. The case was reported in The Medical World. The doctor was William Howell, MD of the small town of Lexington, Tennessee.

He had gotten a supply of sterile 1-1,500 hydrochloric acid but had feared using it. His story is as follows: “On August 18, 1931, I found the case to use hydrochloric acid. Five days before I had delivered a girl of 15 after a prolonged and difficult labor using all possible aseptic precautions possible in a log cabin in the woods. The large baby lived only two hours. In spite of the small size of the mother (she weighed only 90 lbs.), lacerations were small in size. Three days later a message was sent to me that she had had a chill and a very high fever. It was a long trip to the river bottom where she lived so I suspected malaria and I sent quinine.

On the fifth day another message came telling of the grave condition of the patient and that my immediate presence was necessary. On going into the room, I saw that there had been no mistake in this urgent message. The little girl was delirious; temperature 106, pulse 140, respiration was 40; discharge from the vagina that was fetid in odor. Every other case in the condition in which I found her had died of this infection.

With much trepidation I gave her an injection of 10cc of 1-1,500 hydrochloric acid. The following minutes were anxious ones for me, as I hardly knew what to expect as this was the first time that I had ever heard of acid being used in puerperal sepsis. The reports that I had seen of Dr. Ferguson’s cases were of pyrogenic infections in gunshot or lacerated wounds. As I sat by that bed holding the radial pulse in that lonely log cabin, a flood of memories of teachings concerning the fatal consequences of injections of acid into the veins came over me. While in this frame of mind I noticed sweat on the neck and forehead of the patient and along with it a slowing of the pulse and in a few minutes more she was bathed in a profuse perspiration. With it there was a cessation of the chatter of her delirium.

Thirty minutes following the injection of the acid I asked her how she felt. She said that she felt much better and she would like to go to sleep. Within one hour the temperature had dropped to 103, the pulse to 100 and the respiration to 22.

During the following four days, I injected the acid every day and on the fifth day temperature was 99, pulse was 72 and respiration was 22. Two days thereafter, I was called again and was told that the fever had returned. Found her with a temperature of 101, with a free discharge from the vagina. I gave her another injection as before. Save for weakness, all evidence of infection had disappeared the next day. She went on to an uneventful recovery with a complete disappearance of the mass in the left iliac region.”

So here was a case where the patient was marked for death soon and within moments of one intravenous infusion of 1-1,500 hydrochloric acid, the patient showed dramatic improvement. Was there ever a case where an antibiotic drug was so quickly effective?

It is suggested that if bacterial infections are again treated with infusions of hydrochloric acid, it will be found that there is no such thing as a bacterium resistant to hydrochloric acid.

In 1932 there was very little that could be done for the pain and suffering of a patient with a gonorrheal infection of the testicles. Dr. Howell reported that by then Dr. Ferguson had told him that treatment with intravenous infusions of hydrochloric acid was effective in treating any and all bacterial infections. In that year he was referred to such a patient. Dr. Howell said that after all of his training it seemed foolish to do an injection in the arm for a swollen and painful testicle. After the first injection of hydrochloric acid the patient had pain relief. This patient had a complete recovery from the infection following eight daily injections. He added that in time he had seen a few other cases of epididymitis the same as this one, and they all responded to injections of hydrochloric acid just as had this one.

With the escalating cost of medical treatment how nice it would be to replace expensive antibiotics with dilute hydrochloric acid, the cost of which is nil.

Many antibiotics are greatly immunosuppressive and anything that is immunosuppressive will tend to cause cancer. How much better it would be to replace immunosuppressive antibiotics with immunostimulating infusions of hydrochloric acid in treating bacterial infections.

Wayne Martin
25 Orchard Drive
Fairhope, Alabama 36532 USA
Fax 334-928-0150
360-385-0699 (

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