Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic
Among his many accomplishments, Benjamin Franklin was instrumental
in founding the first major civilian hospital and medical school
and in the American colonies. He studied the efficacy of smallpox
inoculation and investigated the causes of the common cold. His
inventions-including bifocal lenses and a "long arm" that extended
the user's reach-made life easier for the aged and afflicted. In
Doctor Franklin's Medicine, Stanley Finger uncovers the
instrumental role that this scientist, inventor, publisher, and
statesman played in the development of the healing arts-enhancing
preventive and bedside medicine, hospital care, and even personal
hygiene in ways that changed the face of medical care in both
America and Europe.
As Finger shows, Franklin approached medicine in the spirit of the
Enlightenment and with the mindset of an experimental natural
philosopher, seeking cures for diseases and methods of alleviating
symptoms of illnesses. He was one of the first people to try to use
electrical shocks to help treat paralytic strokes and hysteria, and
even suggested applying shocks to the head to treat depressive
disorders. He also strove to topple one of the greatest fads in
eighteenth-century medicine: mesmerism.
Doctor Franklin's Medicine looks at these and the many
other contributions that Franklin made to the progress of medical
knowledge, including a look at how Franklin approached his own
chronic illnesses of painful gout and a large bladder stone.
Written in accessible prose and filled with new information on the
breadth of Franklin's interests and activities, Doctor
Franklin's Medicine reveals the impressive medical legacy of
this Founding Father.
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