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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.


Questions to Ask these Pages

1. What drugs does Vaughn prescribe?

2. What treatments other than drugs does Vaughn prescribe?

More Questions

1. How do these drugs and treatments compare with the remedies described in Martha Ballard's diary?
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2. How do these treatments compare with those we use today?
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March 14, 1802: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3
Dear sir, March 14, 1802

   Pardon me for saying, that for sundry motives which will readily occur to you, I am not without uneasiness respecting Mr. Whitwell. I conjecture that for fever joined to pleuritic systems, he has not lost a sufficiency of blood. Sydenham's rule is 40 ounces for the cure of the pleurisy of an adult; & you know what the averages of [smart] fever-attacks require. To get into the train of bleeding again will require caution; but I think you may safely propose to yourself 4 ounces, & by the effect of the bleeding be governed as to any thing beyond. I think you will always find his pulse sufficiently [wiry], or his cough sufficiently catching, to permit this for a single trial.

   Secondly, if no blister has been applied to his breast, should not one go there? You [must] perceive that the habit of your patient does not warrant against a consumptive sequel, if strong measures are not taken at present.

   Thirdly, though I am ignorant of the

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