Show Summary Details
Page of

Phthisis Pulmonalis, or pulmonary consumption. 

Phthisis Pulmonalis, or pulmonary consumption.
Phthisis Pulmonalis, or pulmonary consumption.

Richard J. Kahn

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 30 June 2022

Barker defines pulmonary consumption as a wasting disease with destruction of the lungs, explaining that the poor results of treatments by the ancients was due to medical instruction “destitute of anatomical knowledge.” He cites Thomas Reid and quotes David Ramsay, that from 1700 to 1800, thousands of dissections led to improved treatments. Barker’s experience includes his careful observations on consumption, having lost three wives and two children to the disease, when the nature of this disease was “involved in obscurity.” He knows that he had been called “an unskillful and unsuccessful practitioner in consumption,” but feels that he has learned from his own sad experience. He comments on consumption in pregnancy and parturition as well as in young females whose “customary evacuations” fail to take place, followed by a hectic fever and often death. “Exposure to evening air, in the parade of parties, and the ball room, clad in cobweb muslin, has laid the foundation for consumption in many fashionable young females, and consigned them to an untimely grave!” Phthisis pulmonalis frequently takes place in consequence of neglected pneumonia, influenza, and measles.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.