Castleton, Vermont Medical School, 1844 Manuscript Thesis on Peritonitis

Bromly, G.W. Manuscript thesis entitled "Peritonitis," 3pp, 7.75 x 12.75 in., Castleton, [VT]. June 21, 1844.

Castleton Medical College (1818–1862) was located in the village of Castleton, VT. It graduated 1400 students, more than any other medical school in New England at the time. Although Castleton Medical College and Castleton Seminary were separate institutions, they often shared faculty. Today the former medical college building, known as the Old Chapel, is the oldest building on the campus.

G.W. Bromly begins his thesis by giving an explanation of peritonitis and the affects upon the human body.

"Peritonitis is an inflammation of the Peritoneum. In relation to its course it is divided into adult chronic, the former making its attack suddenly and proceeding through its course in a comparatively short period, whilst the later, when not the consequence of the former comes on insidiously and passes slowly through its course-acute peritonitis, commences with a rigor, followed by revolting pain in the head and limbs...the pain is greatly increased by pressure- the patient lies upon his back, with his shoulders and knees elevated so as to relax the abdominal muscles, carefully avoiding all motion of the body and pressure of bed clothes..."

"Next in importance to prompt copious bleeding in the application of Leeches to the abdomen, and the use should always be resorted to when they can be procured. In Peritonitis the application of leeches is found to be of more service than in any other form of abdominal inflammation and contributes much to the reduction of inflammation."

He writes much more about the benefits of leeches, and this theory is presented on the second page. He goes on to discuss the use of mercury to treat blisters. Castor oil should also be used.

One of the most detailed descriptions of a treatment of disease that we have found in original manuscript form dating from the 19th century. 


The writing on the 2nd page is a bit cramped, but legible. There are file folds, but otherwise the document- letter is in fine condition.

Estimate: $400 - $600

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