Benjamin Rush, MD: Assassin Or Beloved Healer?(Biography)

Benjamin Rush, MD: Assassin Or Beloved Healer?(Biography)

Benjamin Rush, MD (1745-1813), was not only the most well known physician in 18th-century America, he was also a patriot, philosopher, author, lecturer, fervent evangelist, politician, and dedicated social reformer. He was unshakable in his convictions, as well as self-righteous, caustic, satirical, humorless, and polemical. Unquestionably brilliant, he graduated from what later became Princeton University at age 14. He translated Hippocrates’ Aphorisms from the Greek at age 17. He wrote the first textbook of chemistry to be published in America. He was by all accounts a devoted, if highly paternalistic, medical practitioner, who cared deeply for his patients’ welfare. His principles or theories and his championship of extreme purging and bleeding (“depletion therapy”) have engendered 200 years of controversy and debate that continue today. The contradiction in his character is particularly well illustrated by his behavior during the Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic of 1793, as is briefly examined in this essay. BIOGRAPHICAL SNAPSHOT

Benjamin Rush, MD: Assassin Or Beloved Healer?(Biography)



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