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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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Sutton’s Thunder Stolen

Sutton’s Thunder Stolen

(p.59) 7 Sutton’s Thunder Stolen
The Great Inoculator

Gavin Weightman

Yale University Press

This chapter addresses how Daniel Sutton's success was never properly acknowledged by his rivals, who quietly went about the business of figuring out how he did it while sneering at his lowly origins. The eminent, fully qualified doctors who sought to discover Sutton's secrets rarely mentioned him or his family of inoculators by name. They were invariably referred to as 'a certain family', as if to identify them would be to bestow a dignity on them that they really did not deserve. After all, the Suttons probably had no idea themselves how they had more or less perfected the art of smallpox inoculation. There was no published theory nor any description. A London doctor, Thomas Ruston, concluded in his research that the chief ingredient was calomel. Calomel played an important part in Suttonian inoculation, administered in small doses, the quantity dependent on the age and perceived health of the patient.

Keywords:   Daniel Sutton, doctors, inoculators, smallpox inoculation, Thomas Ruston, calomel, Suttonian inoculation

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