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Boston Medical and Surgical Journal Memorial of Dr. Page

By 1844, the year Dr. Page died, the Massachusetts Medical Society published a journal for its members. Still in their infancy, medical societies sought to establish a male medical profession with well-defined standards. This tribute to Dr. Page lauded what the society considered professional and personal excellence.



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1. What biographical data can be found in this document?

2. Compare the values praised in this memoir to those of Martha Ballard.

3. Why was there no similar tribute to Martha Ballard?

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174 Memoir of Benjamin Page, MD  

of his profession particularly, he left all us competitors behind him, and ever mindful of the golden maxim, especially applicable to obstetric practice, Festinare nocet, nocet et cuncatio saepe, he triumphed in the art, and met with unparalleled good fortune and universal success.

His treatment of juvenile cases was signally successful. This is to be ascribed to his superior judgment.

In his treatment of fevers, especially the frightful plague or spotted fever of 1812-14, he justly acquired much celebrity. Within the sphere of his practice it was rendered well nigh harmless, and the remembrance of his medical offices to many now living will be a source of grateful endearment and delightful satisfaction.

The epidemic spotted fever made its appearance in 1810, and till 1816 prevailed at Hallowell and its vicinity with great severity. It fell to the lot of Dr. Page to devote a large portion of his attention to the sick during the prevalence of this epidemic. Several thousand cases fell under his observation ; and he is entitled, says the distinguished author and practitioner, Dr. Thacher, to much honor, and to the gratitude of the public, for his correct observations, his indefatigable industry and his very judicious mode of treatment, by which the disease was divested in a great measure of its malignity and fatal tendency.

The late accomplished and much lamented Dr. Robbins, in alluding to this epidemic in an early No. of this Journal, says of his beloved and distinguished preceptor, Dr. Page, "his talents, judgment and practical skill, would alone redeem the professional character of his State. We have never," says he, "in any country met with a medical practitioner whose views are more liberal or just, or in whose hands we should so willingly entrust ourselves in a dangerous disease. His unexampled success in treating the spotted fever which prevailed in 1814, whilst so many were falling victim to the disease in the neighboring towns, and many cases which have come to our knowledge of his successful management of pulmonary inflammation, dropsies, curvatures of the spine, and other obstinate chronic affections, would, if given to the world as they ought to be, constitute a basis of lasting fame, and be an ample herald of his sound practical judgment, and extensive information on professional subjects."

Dr. Page, however, was never ambitious of becoming a medical author. His time and attention were too exclusively devoted to practice, and had he desired he could scarcely have found time, up to the close of his active and practically useful life, to have distinguished himself as a writer. Yet some of his publications do him great credit, and his monographs upon the Spotted Fever and Scarlatina are not without their value. The admirable history of their symptoms, together with the details of successful treatment, deserves all the praise of originality, having been written entirely from personal observation. It is not claiming too much for them to say, that they contributed greatly to reform the practice in these hitherto fearful and fatal maladies, and to divest them of much of the terror and fatality which in New England, as elsewhere, has ever attended them. The opinions of a skilful and discerning prac-

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