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Richard J. Kahn

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date: 23 April 2021

After brief comments on Hippocrates, Celsus, Cullen, and others, Barker discusses “the unfortunate [John] Brown,” whose “excentric notions & heated imagination . . . fascinated a considerable number of physicians, both in Europe & America.” About 1788, when Brown’s Elements of Medicine first appeared in Maine to be read by physicians, lawyers, and divines, the lancet and other depleting means were replaced by stimulants, chiefly of spiritous liquors. People with pulmonary consumption seldom consulted physicians, preferring the stimulating plan to the lancet. Physicians also preferred the stimulating plan and rarely used the lancet until 1798, when Dr Rush’s Inquiry into the Causes and Cure of the Pulmonary Consumption, printed in 1793, was brought to Portland and read by Barker and others. But prejudice against the use of the lancet in consumption was strong, and the change didn’t take place until the beginning of the nineteenth century.

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