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 Gilbert Blane: Observations on the Diseases of Seamen 
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Post Gilbert Blane: Observations on the Diseases of Seamen
"Observations on the Diseases of Seamen" by Gilbert Blane

The title seems to be "Observations on the Diseases Incident to Seamen" in some places.

Published in 1785, this is available in PDF format through Google Books and in paperback (3rd edition, with corrections and additions - whatever that means) at Amazon.

Pretty interesting to read of the prevailing medical "knowledge" all in one source. Dr. Blane should be aware of the medicine in the RN since he served as Fleet Physician under Admiral Lord Rodney.

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Corcyraeans to the Athenians, 433 BC


Mon Sep 06, 2010 2:00 pm
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Post Re: Gilbert Blane: Observations on the Diseases of Seamen
The availability of Gilbert Blane's 'Observations on the Diseases of Seamen etc' is to be welcomed as the musings of a young and intelligent medical man on seamen's health and the state of nautical medicine in the early 1780s (ie the point when traditional thinking began to be challenged by a new generation of better trained medics). He was, for example, one of the voices that began to doubt the value of traditional remedies for scurvy and to back the use of lemon juice.

Unlike other books on nautical medicine medicine - like those of Lind and Trotter - it was not written to summarize the lessons of a long career in the service. It was in fact based upon Blane's limited (and only) 3 year experience of the navy serving with Rodney's Fleet in the West Indies. In 1779, at the age of 30, he had accompanied the fleet as the private physician of the prematurely aged and gout ridden Admiral. His appointment as Physician to the Fleet after less than two years experience was a typical example of Rodney's blatant use of patronage to suit his own interests. Due to Blane's abilities and commitment it nevertheless proved in the long term to be highly beneficial.

Brian


Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:04 pm
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Post Re: Gilbert Blane: Observations on the Diseases of Seamen
Brian Vale wrote:
Unlike other books on nautical medicine medicine - like those of Lind and Trotter...

Brian, when you were researching your book on Thomas Trotter ("Physician to the Fleet: The Life and Times of Thomas Trotter, 1760-1832") was his "Medicina Nautica" available? Was James Lind's "On the Most Effectual Means of Preserving the Health of Seamen" available also? I know they both wrote many papers on specific medical conditions but I have been looking for copies of their books without success.

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"Whoever is strongest at sea, make him your friend."
Corcyraeans to the Athenians, 433 BC


Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:44 am
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Post Re: Gilbert Blane: Observations on the Diseases of Seamen
Don!

Unfortunately, whereas Trotter's (pioneering) books on Drunkenness and Nervous Disorders have been googled, his works on naval medicine have not. This is a pity because, amongst other things, his 'Medicina Nautica' contains a diary of the operations of the Channel Fleet from the medical point of view from 1794 to 1801. Lind's book on the health of seamen has likewise not been googled. I had to consult the copies in the National Maritime Museum. Happily I live almost within sight of the place.

I do not know if copies can be bought. Trotter's non-naval medical works are occasionally available but, being rare books, are expensive.

Brian


Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:47 am
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