Theory and Practice in Eighteenth-Century British Medicine: "Regimental Practice" by John Buchanan, M.D. Public Deposited

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Annotated transcription of ms. medical journal entitled "Regimental Practice. or A Short History of Diseases common to His Majesties own Royal Regiment of Horse Guards when abroad (Commonly called the Blews)". “Theory and Practice” includes an introductory essay on: (a) the life of the author of “Regimental Practice,” James Buchanan (1710-67); (b) his education and career; and (c) the nature of his practice, as reflected in the journal. Appendices deal in depth with his sources, the therapy that he and other medical authorities used in treating the diseases noted in the journal, and the drugs referred to in “Regimental Practice.”

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  • In 1746, Dr John Buchanan, a recently retired medical officer in the British Army, produced a manuscript, 'Regimental Practice, or a Short History of Diseases common to His Majesties own Royal Regiment of Horse Guards when abroad (Commonly called the Blews).' Revised almost until the time of Buchanan's death in 1767, it was primarily based on the author's observations while surgeon to a cavalry regiment serving in Flanders 1742-45 during the War of the Austrian Succession. It is of immense value to the understanding of eighteenth-century interpretation and treatment of diseases, but as yet has never been published. Presented here is an annotated modern edition of the text, with an introductory section setting the work in the context of Buchanan's life and career, and within the broader framework of eighteenth-century medical practice. Buchanan's practice of medicine generally represented the mainstream of professional practice as regarded both his understanding of disease and his treatment of it. Across the decades of the eighteenth century there were discoveries and fashions that impacted both the theory and the practice of medicine. Various writers of that age, as well as a number of historians since, have conveyed the sense that practice was chaotic. On the contrary, what this book argues is that methods used to treat diseases were fairly standard. Therefore, by reading Buchanan's manuscript one sees not only how he treated more than three dozen diseases, as well as various wounds and injuries, but also how these conditions were often treated in this period. Appendices compare Buchanan’s therapy to that of major contemporaries and also analyze the drugs that he refers to in his journal.
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  • Introduction I. John Buchanan and His Manuscript II. The Learning Process III. Buchanan's Practice Note on Transcriptions TEXT: "Regimental Practice. or A Short History of Diseases common to His Majesties own Royal Regiment of Horse Guards when abroad (Commonly called the Blews)" Appendices A. Buchanan's Sources B-1. Additional Notes on Therapy for Select Diseases B-2. Additional Notes on Surgical Operations C-1. Simples and Compound Drugs Referred to by Buchanan C-2. Buchanan's Use of Drugs Bibliography
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