The Dying and the Doctors: The Medical Revolution in Seventeenth-Century England

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"This study charts the adoption of medical strategies by the seriously ill and dying, decade by decade, from the Elizabethan age of astrological medicine to the emergence of the general practitioner in the early eighteenth century." "Drawing on more than eighteen thousand probate accounts, massive increases in the consumption of medicines and medical advice by all social groups and in almost all areas are identified. Focusing on the diocese of Canterbury, Dr Mortimer explores how these increases were possible even though there was a relatively static number of practitioners. Most importantly, he examines the role of the towns in providing medical services to rural areas and hinterlands, and demonstrates the extending ranges of physicians', surgeons' and apothecaries' businesses. A comparable revolution in community nursing is also identified, from its unskilled status in 1600 to a more exclusive one by 1700." Thus this book describes not only a medical revolution in terms of the increased supply and demand of medical goods and services, but a medical revolution in religious terms too, in which whole communities' hopes for physical survival shifted from God to the professional medical practitioner. This, it is suggested, is one of the most profound revolutions that humanity has experienced in historical times.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
An important book for the social history of medicine. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW Mortimer's description and conclusions must inform our understanding of seventeenth-century medical practice. JOURNAL OF SOCIAL HISTORY Contributes to our understanding of the mechanisms, inspirations, and effects of an important paradigmatic shift which continues to shape societies across the globe today. JOURNAL OF HEALTH AND HISTORY Chart(s) a remarkable medical revolution taking place throughout seventeenth-century England. Historians of early modern medicine should thank him for that. JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF MEDICINE AND ALLIED SCIENCES The results of this meticulous and painstaking research are persuasive and have far-reaching implications for the social history of medical care of the dying. SOCIAL HISTORY OF MEDICINE Mortimer's book is a feat of statistical organisation. He has deftly and meticulously analysed thousands of probate records, using complex and subtle quantities techniques. (...) It is a valuable contribution to the history of medicine, and succeeds in its aim to draw attention to the hitherto acknowledged rise in the employment of doctors at times of grave illness. LOCAL POPULATION STUDIES A work of great clarity and elegance, and provides the bedrock on which social history must be based. TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPLEMENT A must for any studying the history of science or subjects related to the Renaissance and Industrial Revolutions. MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Hon. Research Fellow, University of Exeter
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Table of Contents

1 The medicalisation of East Kent 11

2 The medicalisation of central southern England 42

3 The availability and nature of medical assistance 57

4 Medical practices 91

5 The nature and availability of nursing care 135

6 Plague and smallpox 190

Conclusion 204

App Medical indices for East Kent, West Sussex, Berkshire and Wiltshire 213

Bibliography 215

Index 223

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