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Physicians

Physicians

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The Frontier. Medicine in early America was random, diverse, and unspecialized. University-trained medical practitioners were rare in the colonies. Most doctors were surgeons, apothecaries, or barbers educated under the apprenticeship system. They could prescribe herbal remedies, pull teeth, lance a boil, and bleed or purge a patient. But they were helpless when faced with serious illnesses such as typhoid fever, smallpox, or dysentery. Often both doctor and patient relied on home remedies learned from Indians. The feverish patient seeking relief sometimes followed the Indian example of steam baths. Louis Hennepin treated one of his fellow priests with a potion made of the herb hyacinth. He noted that the Native Americans cured the fever of malaria with a medicine contrived by boiling cinchona bark, which contained quinine. He approved

of the European practice of sometimes bleeding patients to relieve pain.

House Calls. Historian William Smith in 1757 claimed that in regard to the quality and quantity of physicians in America, Quacks abound like locusts in Egypt. Indeed, for a young society colonial America had a high percentage of doctors. In one Virginia town in 1730 there was one physician for every 135 people. Even farmers living in rural areas could find treatment for illnesses. John Mitchell of Virginia was one of many itinerant physicians who traveled throughout the colonies earning a living. The abundance of untrained physicians and the lack of a colonial licensing system led to the widespread views that most doctors were quacks and that the sick might as well treat themselves. Clergymen often doubled as physicians because of their education. There were so many virulent diseases in America that it was convenient that the man who treated the sick could also pray for them and perform last rites. Particularly in the southern colonies mortality rates were high due to yellow fever, malaria, and hookworm, all of African origin. Diseases of European origin such as mumps, measles, and smallpox thrived in America as well, especially in the cities.

Disease Control. There was no truly organized medical profession in America until the end of the colonial period. Communities did, however, develop techniques to prevent and to combat disease. Cities such as Boston set aside places to quarantine the sick who had communicable diseases. (In the case of Boston an island in the harbor was used.) These were the infamous pest houses. The temporary residents of the pest houses were frequently inoculated for the smallpox. In some cases towns tried to improve community sanitation and clean-water standards.

Medical Community. The prevalence of homespun medicine and itinerant doctors began to change with the emergence of a class of physicians trained in European medical schools. The Philadelphia physician Thomas Cadwalader, for example, studied in London and then taught medical techniques at Philadelphia. He performed the first autopsy in America. His contemporary, John Lining of Charleston, South Carolina, graduated from the University of Edinburgh. Concerned with the high mortality rate of the South, Lining kept statistics on the correlation of disease with changes in the weather. He even observed and kept precise records on his own personal health. Another great physician of the early eighteenth century was the Bostonian William Douglass. Initially opposed to proponents of smallpox inoculation such as Cotton Mather, Douglass later contributed to the vast evidence showing that inoculation worked. Douglass was a leader in the formation of the short-lived Boston Medical Society. There were other medical organizations, such as at Charlestown, Massachusetts, but most did not last long. Their lack of longevity showed on the one hand the primitive nature of American medicine, but on the other hand the attempt to form such societies illustrated the birth pangs of the organized medical profession in America.

THE PENNSYLVANIA HOSPITAL

Benjamin Franklin involved himself in just about every aspect of colonial science and public concern, including the establishment of the Pennsylvania Hospital. Conceived in 1751 and opened the next year, the Pennsylvania Hospital was the first modern hospital in America. Before the hospital the sick and poor of Pennsylvania received what care they could from almshouses, workhouses, and houses of correction. For the first time in Pennsylvania they received free care from trained physicians. The hospital also cared for mentally ill patients. Perhaps because the hospital accepted wealthy patients, their medical standards and facilities were the best of the time on both sides of the Atlantic. Indeed, the mortality rate of Pennsylvania Hospital patients was 10 percent, half that of comparable European institutions. Franklin advertised the success of the hospital in Some Account of the Pennsylvania Hospital, published in 1754. Years later in his Autobiography (1868) Franklin wrote: A convenient and handsome building was soon erected; the institution has by constant experience been found useful, and flourishes to this day.

Sources: Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, first complete edition, edited by John Bigelow (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1868);

I. Bernard Cohen. Benjamin Franklins Science (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1990).

Sources

James Cassedy, Medicine in America: A Short History (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991);

Louis Hennepin, Description of Louisiana (Paris: Chez la veuve Sebastien Hure, 1683);

Richard Shryock, Medicine and Society in Early America, 16601860 (New York: New York University Press, 1960);

Raymond Stearns, Science in the British Colonies of North America (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1970);

Frederick Tolles, Meeting House and Counting House: The Quaker Merchants of Colonial Philadelphia, 16821763 (New York: Norton, 1948);

Patricia A. Watson, The Angelical Conjunction: The Preacher-Physicians of Colonial New England (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1991).

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"Physicians." American Eras. 1997. Encyclopedia.com. 25 Jun. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Physician

PHYSICIAN

A physician working in public health focuses on diagnosing and improving the health of communities. Such physicians are dedicated to the prevention of illness, injury, and disability, and to the promotion of healthy behaviors and improved quality of life. They provide special knowledge, skills, and especially leadership to resolve public health issues. Public health physicians often have clinical and/or administrative roles in local or state health departments, federal or international health agencies, academic institutions, and notfor-profit and for-profit health and health care organizations. While physicians enter public health with different clinical backgrounds, many have formal public health training and hold specialty board certification in preventive medicine, the combined art and science of getting and keeping people healthy.

Teresa C. Long

(see also: Preventive Medicine )

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Long, Teresa C.. "Physician." Encyclopedia of Public Health. 2002. Encyclopedia.com. 25 Jun. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

Long, Teresa C.. "Physician." Encyclopedia of Public Health. 2002. Encyclopedia.com. (June 25, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3404000649.html

Long, Teresa C.. "Physician." Encyclopedia of Public Health. 2002. Retrieved June 25, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3404000649.html

physician

physician the beloved physician in the Bible, the epithet of St Luke, as used by Paul in Colossians 4:14. Luke is thus a patron saint of doctors.
physician, heal thyself proverbial saying, early 15th century, meaning that before attempting to correct others you should make sure that you are not guilty of the same faults. Originally biblical allusion to Luke 4:23, ‘And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.’

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ELIZABETH KNOWLES. "physician." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 2006. Encyclopedia.com. 25 Jun. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

ELIZABETH KNOWLES. "physician." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 2006. Encyclopedia.com. (June 25, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O214-physician.html

ELIZABETH KNOWLES. "physician." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 2006. Retrieved June 25, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O214-physician.html

physician

phy·si·cian / fiˈzishən/ • n. a person qualified to practice medicine. ∎  a healer: physicians of the soul.

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"physician." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. 2009. Encyclopedia.com. 25 Jun. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"physician." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. 2009. Retrieved June 25, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O999-physician.html

physician

physician (fiz-ish-ăn) n. a registered medical practitioner who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disease by other than surgical means.

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"physician." A Dictionary of Nursing. 2008. Encyclopedia.com. 25 Jun. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"physician." A Dictionary of Nursing. 2008. Encyclopedia.com. (June 25, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O62-physician.html

"physician." A Dictionary of Nursing. 2008. Retrieved June 25, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O62-physician.html

physician

physician XIII. ME. fisicien — OF. (mod. physicien physicist), f. fisique PHYSIC; see -IAN.

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T. F. HOAD. "physician." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. 1996. Encyclopedia.com. 25 Jun. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

T. F. HOAD. "physician." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. 1996. Encyclopedia.com. (June 25, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O27-physician.html

T. F. HOAD. "physician." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. 1996. Retrieved June 25, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O27-physician.html

physician

physicianashen, fashion, passion, ration •abstraction, action, attraction, benefaction, compaction, contraction, counteraction, diffraction, enaction, exaction, extraction, faction, fraction, interaction, liquefaction, malefaction, petrifaction, proaction, protraction, putrefaction, redaction, retroaction, satisfaction, stupefaction, subtraction, traction, transaction, tumefaction, vitrifaction •expansion, mansion, scansion, stanchion •sanction •caption, contraption •harshen, Martian •cession, discretion, freshen, session •abjection, affection, circumspection, collection, complexion, confection, connection, convection, correction, defection, deflection, dejection, detection, direction, ejection, election, erection, genuflection, imperfection, infection, inflection, injection, inspection, insurrection, interconnection, interjection, intersection, introspection, lection, misdirection, objection, perfection, predilection, projection, protection, refection, reflection, rejection, resurrection, retrospection, section, selection, subjection, transection, vivisection •exemption, pre-emption, redemption •abstention, apprehension, ascension, attention, circumvention, comprehension, condescension, contention, contravention, convention, declension, detention, dimension, dissension, extension, gentian, hypertension, hypotension, intention, intervention, invention, mention, misapprehension, obtention, pension, prehension, prevention, recension, retention, subvention, supervention, suspension, tension •conception, contraception, deception, exception, inception, interception, misconception, perception, reception •Übermenschen • subsection •ablation, aeration, agnation, Alsatian, Amerasian, Asian, aviation, cetacean, citation, conation, creation, Croatian, crustacean, curation, Dalmatian, delation, dilation, donation, duration, elation, fixation, Galatian, gyration, Haitian, halation, Horatian, ideation, illation, lavation, legation, libation, location, lunation, mutation, natation, nation, negation, notation, nutation, oblation, oration, ovation, potation, relation, rogation, rotation, Sarmatian, sedation, Serbo-Croatian, station, taxation, Thracian, vacation, vexation, vocation, zonation •accretion, Capetian, completion, concretion, deletion, depletion, Diocletian, excretion, Grecian, Helvetian, repletion, Rhodesian, secretion, suppletion, Tahitian, venetian •academician, addition, aesthetician (US esthetician), ambition, audition, beautician, clinician, coition, cosmetician, diagnostician, dialectician, dietitian, Domitian, edition, electrician, emission, fission, fruition, Hermitian, ignition, linguistician, logician, magician, mathematician, Mauritian, mechanician, metaphysician, mission, monition, mortician, munition, musician, obstetrician, omission, optician, paediatrician (US pediatrician), patrician, petition, Phoenician, physician, politician, position, rhetorician, sedition, statistician, suspicion, tactician, technician, theoretician, Titian, tuition, volition •addiction, affliction, benediction, constriction, conviction, crucifixion, depiction, dereliction, diction, eviction, fiction, friction, infliction, interdiction, jurisdiction, malediction, restriction, transfixion, valediction •distinction, extinction, intinction •ascription, circumscription, conscription, decryption, description, Egyptian, encryption, inscription, misdescription, prescription, subscription, superscription, transcription •proscription •concoction, decoction •adoption, option •abortion, apportion, caution, contortion, distortion, extortion, portion, proportion, retortion, torsion •auction •absorption, sorption •commotion, devotion, emotion, groschen, Laotian, locomotion, lotion, motion, notion, Nova Scotian, ocean, potion, promotion •ablution, absolution, allocution, attribution, circumlocution, circumvolution, Confucian, constitution, contribution, convolution, counter-revolution, destitution, dilution, diminution, distribution, electrocution, elocution, evolution, execution, institution, interlocution, irresolution, Lilliputian, locution, perlocution, persecution, pollution, prosecution, prostitution, restitution, retribution, Rosicrucian, solution, substitution, volution •cushion • resumption • München •pincushion •Belorussian, Prussian, Russian •abduction, conduction, construction, deduction, destruction, eduction, effluxion, induction, instruction, introduction, misconstruction, obstruction, production, reduction, ruction, seduction, suction, underproduction •avulsion, compulsion, convulsion, emulsion, expulsion, impulsion, propulsion, repulsion, revulsion •assumption, consumption, gumption, presumption •luncheon, scuncheon, truncheon •compunction, conjunction, dysfunction, expunction, function, junction, malfunction, multifunction, unction •abruption, corruption, disruption, eruption, interruption •T-junction • liposuction •animadversion, aspersion, assertion, aversion, Cistercian, coercion, conversion, desertion, disconcertion, dispersion, diversion, emersion, excursion, exertion, extroversion, immersion, incursion, insertion, interspersion, introversion, Persian, perversion, submersion, subversion, tertian, version •excerption

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