|Title:||Dr Robert Robertson: Fever Specialist, Eighteenth-century medical experimenter, naval health reformer and senior physician in the royal navy medical department|
|Authors:||Short, Bruce Hamilton|
|Publisher:||University of Sydney.|
Faculty of Medicine.
School of Public Health.
|Abstract:||The objective of the thesis is to identify the contributions made by Dr Robert Robertson (1742 – 1829) to the Royal Navy Medical Department by improving and ameliorating the cure and prevention of fevers within that organisation, set against the background of the extant management of fevers, limited to British medicine, during the latter half of the eighteenth-century. The life, writings and significant contributions by Robertson have received little historiographic analysis and the justification for this thesis is to redress the apparent oversight. No biography of Robert Robertson exists. Robertson used the febrifuge Peruvian Bark (cortex Peruvianus) or Jesuit’s Powder obtained from the cinchona tree, in drug protocols which he first developed and tested in his voyages to the West Indies and West Africa during a five-year period from 1769. Later experiments demonstrated to Robertson the highly effective, safe and dependable efficacy of the bark to cure and prevent intermittent and continuous fevers within the Royal Navy. Using early statistical methods he also showed benefit from cinchona treatment when contrasted with the extant and potentially more dangerous antiphlogistic regimen in fever management. He became an influential expert physician within the small British group of latter eighteenth-century fever specialists. Robertson’s doctrine of Febrile Infection, a theory of one genus of fever at variance with the extant teachings, was not unique in eighteenth-century British medicine. He employed a similarly unitary view to treatment utilising solely bark regimens. These regimens were a major progress in eighteenth-century medical practices, and for some years displaced the primacy of the depleting practices of the extant antiphlogistic regimen. Peruvian bark became one of the most efficacious drugs catalogued in the eighteenth-century pharmacopoeia. Whilst Physician-in-Charge at the Royal Hospital, Greenwich, Robertson continued his work and publications on fever medicine, experimentations with novel preparations of Peruvian bark and vigorously maintained his involvement and interest in the introduction of belated reformations to the Royal Navy Medical Department. The thesis concludes that Dr Robert Robertson’s ingenuity, industry and innovation made a significant contribution to improving the hygiene and health of the latter eighteenth-century Royal Navy.|
|Type of Work:||Masters Thesis|
|Type of Publication:||Master of Philosophy M.Phil|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|
Research Papers and Publications. Sydney Health Ethics
|SHORT Bruce - Final Thesis.pdf||Thesis||871.26 kB||Adobe PDF|
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