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PATHOLOGY AND TREATMENT
AND ON THE
LOCAL MEDICATION OF PHARYNGEAL AND LARYNGEAL DISEASES
FREQUENTLY MISTAKEN FOR, OR ASSOCIATED WITH,
JOHN HUGHES BENNETT, M.D., F.R.S.E.,
PROFESSOR OF THE INSTITUTES OF MEDICINE AND OF CLINICAL MEDICINE
IN THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH;
COPENHAGEN, ETC. ETC.
PHYSICIAN TO THE HOTEL DIEU; PERPETUAL PRESIDENT OF THE MEDICAL SOCIETY OF
OBSERVATION, PARIS; MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF
MEDICINE, ETC. ETC.
MY DEAR SIR :
In the last edition of your admirable work on Phthisis, you observe: “ The study of phthisis under the present point of view—that of its curability—has as yet made but little progress, and consequently does not at the present day possess all the interest which ought to belong to a subject of such great importance. In the cases of cure hitherto known, the morbid state has always been very limited in extent, and this limitation has not been the result of any circumstance which, although fortuitous, was still appreciable, and hence more or less easily producible at will in other cases, but the effect, no doubt, of circumstances peculiar to each individual case. The nature of these circumstances is at the present hour utterly unknown, and to the steady investigation of them medical observers should henceforth sedulously apply themselves.” (Sydenham Society's Translation, by Walshe, pp. 475, 476.)
If, in following out the recommendation thus given, I have been enabled to collect facts which prove that a cure may occasionally take place, although phthisis has existed to a very great extent; and if, from a consideration of
these facts, I have been enabled to approximate towards, if not completely to arrive at, a knowledge of the circumstances which produce a permanent arrestment of the malady, you will perhaps excuse my dedicating this work to you—a liberty to which I am impelled as much by the kindness I have experienced at your hands, as by the distinguished reputation which you have achieved in medicine.
With the utmost respect and regard,
Yours very sincerely,
J. HUGHES BENNETT.
EDINBURGH, 1 GLENFINLAS STREET,
September 22, 1853.
In the years 1839-40, the Author found a remedy administered in the hospitals of Germany in cases of Pulmonary Tuberculosis, which had never been employed in his own country for that disease, although it had been successfully used there in Rheumatism. This was Cod-liver Oil. He could not fail to be struck with the marked benefits which resulted from its employment in patients, who, had they been treated in British hospitals, would certainly have died. In 1841, therefore, be published a Monograph, giving an account of what was then known concerning that substance, and recommended it to his countrymen, from theoretical and practical considerations, as a valuable remedy in Phthisis Pulmonalis.
For five years (1843–1848), the Author held the position of Pathologist to the Royal Infirmary of this city, during which period he performed and recorded the results of upwards of two thousand post-mortem examinations. Gradually, one great fact became impressed upon his mind, viz: that all organic diseases occasionally presented a tendency to spontaneous cure. He was repeatedly meeting with instances where, although death was occasioned by disease in one organ, there were others which presented traces of previously existing lesions which in some way had healed. In no organs were such appearances more common than in the lungs, and of no disease was evidence of a spontaneous cure more frequent than of Pulmonary Tuberculosis. Although it was generally considered by the profession that no