The London Lancet

The following primary sources examine findings from different doctors spanning the years 1855, 1867, 1871, 1874 within a medical journal known as the London Lancet. The Lancet was established in 1823 and stands out as one of the most distinguished and venerable medical journals in the world. Its introduction during a period of significant and important medical reforms in England marked the start of a revolutionary era of medical communication, ultimately advancing public health through a platform of intellectual exchange. At the same time as its creation, the Cholera epidemic violently swept through London throughout the 19th century during which the value of the London Lancet was thoroughly tested and proven. Because of its rapid spread, the deadly disease prompted urgent responses from the medical community and thus, during outbreaks, the Lancet served as a critical platform for the dissemination of information and the latest research findings. It pushed timely reports on Cholera cases, research findings, and death tolls in order for the crucial dissemination of knowledge to persist when understanding of transmission and disease was very limited. These four pieces in our collection go over common treatments and remedies that worked in the treatment of Cholera, symptoms of the excruciating disease, and death tolls that resulted from it; the Lancet’s advocacy extended beyond research publications and played a vital role in the mobilization of public opinion and influencing policy. The journal’s coverage of these topics, notably by doctors such as Dr. John Rose, Dr. Cockle, Dr. Pfeufer, and Dr. Coyne, supported sanitary reforms and contributed to the public’s pressure on government officials to take action, thus using its advocacy to slowly get rid of Cholera once and for all.

A Patient Coping With Cholera

Patients, as well as doctors, would experiment with remedies for this disease because of how hindering Cholera was, and how quickly it would spread throughout the population. This image from Isaac Robert Cruikshank showcases the distress that someone affected by the disease would go through, trying eveyrthing someone could think of to attempt to rid themselves of Cholera. 

London Lancet: Royal Medical and Chirugical Society

London Lancet: Royal Medical and Chirugical Society

This portion of the Lancet from 1854 discusses a specific view on Cholera and how it should be treated by the medical men of the time. The theories for what the diease affected in the patients body was the blood or the nervous system, although Cholera affecting the blood was disregarded because the author writes that health is under the domain of the nervous system more than blood, also, there was no proof at the time of pollution in the internal system of the body. Because of these reasons, the medical men came to the conclusion that the best way to treat Cholera was with Opium, as it would take away the flux that affected the body of the patient. Another doctor, Dr. Smith, suggested the treatment of Moxa and Ginger alongisde high heat temperatures to try and eradicate the disease from the body. 

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