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The Great InoculatorThe Untold Story of Daniel Sutton and his Medical Revolution$
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Gavin Weightman

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300241440

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300241440.001.0001

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Is It Worth the Risk?

Is It Worth the Risk?

(p.20) 3 Is It Worth the Risk?
The Great Inoculator

Gavin Weightman

Yale University Press

This chapter details how Princess Caroline finally decided to have her children inoculated. Thereafter, the inoculation of royal and aristocratic children was covered in daily bulletins by newspapers. However, there were other privileged infants who developed full–blown smallpox from their inoculation and did not survive. These cases were also reported in the newspapers. In these cases, the name of the surgeon who carried out the inoculation was not mentioned. Thus, it was impossible to judge the dangers of 'this new practice' because the technique of inoculation was not described or disclosed. Lady Mary, in her diatribe in the Flying Post, believed doctors were 'murdering' their patients (her term was censored by the editor) because the potions and purges they used only served to weaken the latter. She went as far to suggest that the medical profession was deliberately making inoculation dangerous to protect their incomes, which came from treating the disease.

Keywords:   Princess Caroline, inoculation, royal children, aristocratic children, smallpox, surgeons, Mary Wortley Montagu, doctors, medical profession

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