Title page of John Blackall's Observations of Dropsies, 1818
Hoffman RB144 .B55 1818
 

 


               JOHN BLACKALL (1771-1860)

     John Blackall, an English physician, whose  book, Observations on the Nature and Cures of Dropsies, was  first published in 1814. Dropsies are white clouds in urine and were observed by Hippocrates.  The 13th-century Italian physician Saliceto provided a classic description of dropsy, scanty urine, and contracted kidneys, and the Arab physician Rhazes had observed the association between damaged kidneys and dropsy. Albumin (or “albumen”) in urine had been well documented by Blackall's age.
     Blackall's book was widely used and it pointed out that some cases of dropsy were associated with coagulable urine, but he failed to make the link between this phenomenon and disease of the kidneys. Blackall appears to have been uncertain as to the exact origin of the albumin in the urine.
      It was not until 1827 that Dr. Richard Bright discovered the link of albumen and kidney disease. Probably, the main reason for Bright's success and Blackall's failure was that Bright carried out post mortem examinations of his patients, something Blackall did not do.
     This is a copy of the third edition, published in 1818 in London.
 

Portrait of John Blackall.

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