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A History of Yale's School of MedicinePassing Torches to Others$
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Gerard N. Burrow

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780300092073

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300092073.001.0001

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The Department of Medicine

The Department of Medicine

(p.218) 11 The Department of Medicine
A History of Yale's School of Medicine

Gerard N. Burrow

Yale University Press

This chapter describes Yale's Department of Medicine as propelled, from the very beginning, by a remarkable cast of faculty members. Nathan Smith, who was also responsible for lectures in surgery and in obstetrics and gynecology, was revered as a teacher, in part because he lectured on his cases, making his points with models and illustrations and allowing students to question him, rather than following the traditional didactic manner. Smith emphasized moderation in therapeutics, seldom recommending bleeding, preferring cleanliness and rest, and prescribing drugs only when he had established that they were useful. He often rejected commonly held theories. He disagreed, for example, with Benjamin Rush of Philadelphia, one of the outstanding physicians of the day, who believed in vigorous bleeding and constructed a classification of disease that did not at all impress Smith.

Keywords:   Yale, Department of Medicine, Nathan Smith, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, therapeutics, bleeding, Benjamin Rush

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