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Author(s):

Richard J. Kahn

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190053253.003.0024
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date: 14 April 2021

Barker explains that the Medical Museum (Philadelphia) and the Medical Repository (New York City) were rare books in Maine that could not conveniently be purchased by young physicians. Because he was known to have an unusually good personal library, Barker was asked to excerpt some of the most extraordinary cases of consumption from those journals. For example, a twenty-year-old West Indian seaman died at New York Hospital with a diagnosis of phthisis pulmonalis manifested by extreme emaciation, cough, catarrh, and fever. On dissection the lungs showed no adhesions, no traces of organic lesions, and no inflammation. The physician was of the opinion that phthisis pulmonalis was “not always attended with tubercles and ulcers,” and that death was due to another cause. He suggested that in some cases the disease yielded to calomel, symptoms disappeared, but the patient still died.

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