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Srp Arh Celok Lek. 2009 Nov-Dec;137(11-12):706-9.

[Richard Morton (1637-1698)--the distinguished physician of the 17th century].

[Article in Serbian]


Richard Morton was a distinguished physician of the 17th century. He was born in Suffolk, England, on July 30th 1637. Morton published three works but his landmark paper was "Phthisiologia, seu exercitationes de phthisi, tribus libris comprehensae" published in 1689, dedicated to William III. The book established his reputation at home and abroad lasting for over a century. Pulmonary tuberculosis was very frequent in the 17th century in England. He was the first physician ever to state that tubercles were always present in its pulmonary form. When we add to these momentous observations and their rational explanation the facts that he was the first physician to state categorically that tubercles are always present in phthisis, we must agree that Morton richly deserves his honoured place in the long list of those who have contributed to the solution of the problem of tuberculosis. Morton first described and gave conclusions of numerous today well known and already examined illnesses. In 1694 he gave first notes about the psychiatric illness which we today call "anorexia nervosa", calling it "nervous consumption". His chapters on treatment are long and contain a sound basis of common sense as indicated by his instructions on general management. He stresses the need for an adequate diet, an environment free from fog and smoke, and the desirability of ensuring a moderate amount of exercise. All Morton's therapeutic dicta are in their humanity and thoughtful care in striking contrast to the regimen of copious bleeding and semi-starvation inflicted by the later generation of physicians. Confirmation of his achievements and his teaching can be found in today's medical practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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