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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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A Rural Revolution

A Rural Revolution

(p.30) 4 A Rural Revolution
The Great Inoculator

Gavin Weightman

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on Daniel Sutton's method of 'Suttonian' inoculation against smallpox. It is not easy to appreciate now how it might be possible for a 'medical revolution' to take place when it involved absolutely no advance in the understanding of infections, nor any close studies of the effectiveness of different drugs or medical procedures. But 'Suttonian inoculation' was a genuine breakthrough, and was recognised as such at the time by most medical authorities. It evolved from a rejection of customary medical practice and a partial return to the simplicity of the Turkish method of inoculation. Lady Mary's anecdotal accounts of the work of the elderly Greek ladies were probably more influential than any theories about the nature of disease. It was a rustic kind of revolution which began in the Suffolk village of Kenton in the mid-eighteenth century.

Keywords:   Daniel Sutton, Suttonian inoculation, smallpox, medical revolution, infections, medical procedures, medical practice

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