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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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Reading Help

Nov 25, 1802
  Dear sir, Hallowell, Nov. 25, 1802

1 part antimonial wine, & 2 parts Clutton's febrifuge; to be taken according to my note.

yours BV

   Somewhat ignorant of Mrs. D's first form of attack, & the regular train of her subsequent symptoms, I am ignorant also whether the whole be one or two diseases. If there is pleurisy which has supervened from cold caught, I think to gain a day by giving the bark is hazardous; & the same, if spasm has supervened. I suspect the latter, from its frequent cessation & the effect of anti-spasmodics; from the attempts made to remove irritants from the alimentary passages not having the result, which might be expected, were such irritants concerned. -- I therefore have conceived, if a tonic is to be used, that bitters & chalybeates might have trial, rather than bark; or at least, that the bark should be confined to as much only as enter into our new medicine. The bark seems to lead the blood to the regions of the thorax, & the chalybeate to the surface & extremities. Why might not our new chalybeate be tried alone, or diluted with vinegar & water, at the rate of a grain or two / dose. -- What say you to zinc?

   Last night I gave 1 part laudanum,

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