Clinical Lectures of John Rutherford

Scope and Content

The manuscript bears the bookplate of the Manchester Medical Society indicating that it was donated to them by Samuel Crompton in 1860, whereupon we know it to have been allocated the reference number F 96 viz. their 1890 library catalogue. Additional annotations indicate that the volume was acquired by Samuel Crompton in 1848, but previous ownership is unknown and little is known of the manuscripts creator although we may assume he was a medical student at Edinburgh during these years.

There are 332 folios in total with the original pagination pp.1-637 that are split into four distinct sections all concerning the clinical lectures given by John Rutherford (1695-1779) at the University of Edinburgh. The first section on pp.1-228 records Rutherford's lecture from 1749 & 1750 and is the only section to include the introductory lecture. The second section on pp.229-392 covers the lectures from 1751 and the third section on pp.393-566 the lectures from 1752. The final section on pp.567-637 is entitled 'Supplement being some of the lectures that were omitted in 1749 & 1750'.

Clinical lectures differed from the traditional classroom based teaching in that students were taught on the hospital wards using real life patients to illustrate some of the most common diseases and ailments and to see how they should be treated. In this case the patients were seen on the wards of the Edinburgh Infirmary. As such, instead of individually numbered lectures, the notes are presented like patient case notes with a diagnosis and patient name given at the head of the page for each new case. The patient's case and symptoms are explained along with the treatments administered and the reasons why these treatments were chosen and their purpose. In some cases there is a separate list at the end of the main body of notes listing all the medicines administered to the patient. On occasion some diseases are explained by Rutherford without a real case as illustration.

There is an index in the rear which provides an alphabetical list of the diseases and conditions addressed in the entire volume with the name of the patient alongside and the corresponding page number. The conditions addressed according to this index are as follows: abortion, quotidian ague, tertian ague, quartian ague, angina, ardor urinae [dysuria], virtues of bark, bite of a dog, brain concussion, burned breast, mucous catarrh, cachexia, chlorosis [hypochromic anaemia], nervous colic, chorea sancti viti [St Vitus's Dance], concretion in the lungs, convulsions, contusion of the head, diarrhoea & haemoptoe [haemoptysis], diarrhoea & dysentery, dropsy, dysentery, epileptic fits from worms, epilepsy, eruptions after an ague, eyes sore, eye inflamed, remittent fever, continued fever, rheumatic fever, nervous fever, violent flooding, fluor albus [leukorrhoea], glandular swelling, gonorrhoea, gutta serena [blindness], haemoptoe, headache, hemiplagia, hepatitis, umbilical hernia, hiccup, hydrophobia [rabies], hypochondriac disease, hysterics, jaundice, inoculation, ischuria [urinary retention] from a paralysis of the bladder, itch repelled by sulphur, inveterate itch, leprosy, lues venerea [syphilis], lumbago [lower back pain] & rheumatism, melancholy, nephritis, nervous case with contusions, nervous complaints, nervous symptoms with an account of tar water, obstructions, ophthalmia, paralytic affection of the thigh with hectic symptoms, palsy [paralysis], peripneumonia, phthisis [tuberculosis, pulmonary], pleurisy, pleuro peripneumony [pneumonia], polypus [polyps], acute rheumatism, chronic rheumatism, salivation from relaxation, scrofula [tuberculosis, lymph node], scurvy, smallpox, stomach weakness, swelling of the belly, stone, synochos, tumour of the linea alba, toothache, wind in the stomach, worms, fluck [fluke] worm.

Administrative / Biographical History

See entry MMM/14/2/1 for biographical details relating to Rutherford.