Eighteenth-century American medicine
Deen, Robert Almon
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"Eighteenth-Century American Medicine" surveys the types of illnesses from which the colonials suffered, the constitution of the medical profession, and the medicines and other treatments which the doctors and the colonials themselves tried in combating illnesses. Although the great epidemic killers such as yellow fever aid smallpox have received the greatest notoriety, it is shown in the chapter on illnesses that the common illnesses proved to be the deadliest in the final analysis, in spite of their less dramatic character. The information on the medical profession covers the great extremes of the level of preparation of its constituents, from those with absolutely no training to the men who had studied in the great university at Edinburgh, Scotland. The absence of medical training institutions in the colonies until the last half of the 18th century, and the lack of licensing restrictions for doctors until late in the century provide evidence for the state of the profession of medicine in America during the period under consideration. Prescriptions for the treatments of the various illnesses provide an interesting insight into the degree of advancement of the science of medicine. Although there was an occasional great breakthrough, such as the advent of inoculation, it is shown that a large amount of the medical treatment available in America during the 18th century was pathetically ineffective.