Amoebic Dysentery and Emetine On the Thai/ Burma Railway

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by papiermache, Mar 20, 2021.

  1. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Emetine was used in the treatment of Amoebic Dysentery, from which disease many POWs in Thailand suffered.

    J.K. Gale was a practising lawyer in Singapore post war who also gave evidence at the trial of various Japanese senior officers in October 1946. He gave evidence about life at Tamuang camp, and other aspects of the railway.

    “Two members of my battalion were the planters who grew most of the world’s supply of Epecaco in Malaya, and they offered and asked to be allowed to go down to Malaya to their own estates and in one trip they could bring back enough to deal with the whole question of Emetine, and that request was put down in writing by me and was turned down flat.”

    Extracted from WO235/963.

    Attached Files:

  2. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Emetine = Ipecac.

    Soderlund Drugstore Museum :: Ipecac

    If only they had been allowed to bring supplies back it would have saved some lives.

    Those brave chaps tried.

    Kind regards, always remember,

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 20, 2021
    papiermache and CL1 like this.
  3. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    An injection of Emetine as experienced by the great "Weary" Dunlop.

    Extracts from “The War Diaries of Weary Dunlop”, Sir Edward Dunlop describes his experience of suffering from amoebic dysentery at Hintok in Thailand.

    “25 May 1943 ….bang, down I go with dysentery, really quite severe. Trying to carry on and have not completely reduced my diet to fluids but have begun M. & B. 693 4g in about 10 hours.
    28 May 1943 I am properly ill today with fever and nausea and severe abdominal pain, aching back and weakness. Dysentery intermittently which means slushing outside in the pouring rain and mud….I am eating nothing, fluids just a bit, M. & B. 693 continued 2-3 times a day. I have a hunch that I have really got amoebic dysentery and have had it for some time.
    29 May 1943 Pouring rain and wet. I am feeling wretchedly ill….just able to take a little sugared drink. Continuing on M. & B. 693 one four-hourly with no effect.
    30 May 1943. Still feeling very sick. Dysentery only slightly less. No lessening in blood and mucus….I am increasingly convinced my affliction amoebic dysentery…
    31 May 1943 I am still a cot case, eating almost nothing…
    1 June 1943 I took the plunge today and injected myself with emetine hydrochloric grains 1 *

    * I collapsed under a tree going to the interminable benjo { trip to the latrine}..

    The vultures gathered on the branches above, ignoring my feeble fist-shaking.

    There arrived from nowhere Capt. “Legs” Lee RAMC, who felt my pulse and said he would give me some emetine.

    I said: ‘ Rot - how much emetine have you got?’.

    He said ‘ I have six grains and you will have half.’

    I said “ No way - you will need all that yourself.’

    He gallantly over-rode me and prepared the injection, dissolving the tablets on a spoon.

    The following day I was sufficiently improved to throw stones at the vultures!”
    JimHerriot and JohnH like this.

Share This Page