Clinical lectures were given by the medical lecturers on the wards of the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and allowed students an opportunity to learn aspects of medicine through the treatment of real cases. The first clinical lectures were given in Edinburgh by John Rutherford, who was seen to be a pioneer of the form, and Edinburgh soon became highly regarded for its clinical teaching.
The notes read very much like patient case notes and full descriptions are given of each patient's symptoms and developments in their condition throughout their stay in hospital, as well as treatments administered, medicines received, and their response to these treatments. This information is usually entered for each day they are in the hospital with each entry dated. For those that died, a description of their dissection or post mortem may be included.
A range of treatments are witnessed in these 6 volumes, including but not limited to alterations in diet, cupping, rubbed with a hard cloth or flesh brush, blisters, leeches, ear syringing, electrical machine, punctures, warm baths, warm brick, bolus, poultices or cataplasms, emetics, purgatives, clysters, fomentations, pills, decoctions, draughts, confections, tinctures, blood-letting, emulsions, unguents, and injections.