Journal Mobile

EJ Huth
Journal Issue: 
Volume 37: Issue 4: 2007




Benjamin  Franklin's  seemingly  endless  curiosity  and  his  prolific contributions in diplomacy, politics, literature, and science may well justify calling him the most eminent man in eighteenth-century American life.  One portion of these contributions still striking for the insights and productivity it shows was in medicine.  He saw the value in inoculation against smallpox. He was aware of the placebo  effect.   He, in  effect, launched  the  first  American  medical  school. He devised  a  flexible  urethral  catheter.   He  identified  lead  poisoning  as  a  cause  of abdominal pain and peripheral neuropathy.  He accurately described psoriasis well before Robert Willan. These contributions in medicine of his time were not then notably influential, but they certainly illustrate the versatility of his intellect