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Letters: Dr. Benjamin Vaughn to Ben Page
Like midwives, young doctors learned valuable skills from veterans of their profession. A number of letters from Dr. Benjamin Vaughn to the younger Dr. Page have been preserved. Vaughn's parents came from wealthy merchant families, one in London and one in Boston. Born in 1751, Vaughn studied medicine in Edinburgh and was elected to Parliament. He settled in Maine around 1796 and practiced medicine part-time. Born in 1770, Page had practiced in Hallowell since 1791. In these letters, Vaughn advises the younger physician on a number of medical questions.


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1. What drugs does Vaughn prescribe?

2. What treatments other than drugs does Vaughn prescribe?

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1. How do these drugs and treatments compare with the remedies described in Martha Ballard's diary?
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April 9, 1801
Dear sir, Hallowell, April 9, 1801.
   I recommend the bearer to your lancet, as for as 8 or 10 ounces of blood, as he is going to sea, & may there vomit & may be some time before he gets another bleeding. His pulse does not repeat the beats quickly, but it makes a quick stroke; & though not very full to the finger, yet is evidently laboring. After he has been blooded, sooner or later, I expect a change in his pulse indicating more fully to an unexperienced person the necessity of bleeding.
   I recommend a good dose of salts after the bleeding, some of your pills, & cream of tartar & brimstone to be taken daily in quantity to procure one or two loose motions at the most. His diet must be milk & vegetables for a time; & while his pains last, the lancet must be applied once in the week.
Yours sincerely,

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