E. J. H.
Of pleasures we get from reading history, the one rarely confessed is the looking back in time to see an eminent and usually wise man slip on a conceptual banana peel. Was Benjamin Rush's zealous blood-letting such a slip by such a man? In Philadelphia's yellow fever epidemic of 1793 he probably killed more Philadelphians with his fervent, evangelical "erythromania"1 than he saved. His reputation was so vulnerable on this point that one of his political enemies, the Royalist William Cobbett, though a layman, could attack Rush more viciously on medical than on political grounds:
The times are ominous indeed,
H. EJ. Medical History Begets Humility. Ann Intern Med. ;56:353–354. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-56-2-353
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1962;56(2):353-354.
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