Cullen

The Consultation Letters of Dr William Cullen (1710-1790) at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

 

[ID:1142] From: [AUTHOR UNKNOWN] / To: Dr William Cullen (Professor Cullen) / Regarding: Mr Alexander Spalding Gordon (Spalding, of The Holme & Shirmers) (Patient) / 24 May 1775 / (Incoming)

Letter from the Dumfries surgeon Alexander Copland, regarding Mr Spalding Gordon, who was 'so unlucky as to contract a Venereal Infection about 12 weeks ago'. Gives detailed account of the external use of mercurial unguents and the surgical attention given to discharging venereal sores.

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Metadata

FieldData
DOC ID 1142
RCPE Catalogue Number CUL/1/2/243
Main Language English
Document Direction Incoming
Date24 May 1775
Annotation None
TypeAuthorial original
Enclosure(s) No enclosure(s)
Autopsy No
Recipe No
Regimen No
Letter of Introduction No
Case Note No
Summary Letter from the Dumfries surgeon Alexander Copland, regarding Mr Spalding Gordon, who was 'so unlucky as to contract a Venereal Infection about 12 weeks ago'. Gives detailed account of the external use of mercurial unguents and the surgical attention given to discharging venereal sores.
Manuscript Incomplete? No
Evidence of Commercial Posting No

Case

Cases that this document belongs to:

Case ID Description Num Docs
[Case ID:4]
Case of Mr Alexander Spalding Gordon who has a venereal infection in 1775; in 1776 he has a swollen ankle and toe assumed to be gouty; and in 1784 he is suffering from the after-effects of an accidental pistol wound.
18


People linked to this document

Person IDRole in documentPerson
[PERS ID:1]AddresseeDr William Cullen (Professor Cullen)
[PERS ID:629]PatientMr Alexander Spalding Gordon (Spalding, of The Holme & Shirmers)
[PERS ID:566]Patient's Physician / Surgeon / ApothecaryMr Alexander Copland (Coupland; of King's Grange)
[PERS ID:1]Patient's Physician / Surgeon / ApothecaryDr William Cullen (Professor Cullen)

Places linked to this document

Role in document Specific Place Settlements / Areas Region Country Global Region Confidence
Place of Writing Dumfries Borders Scotland Europe certain
Destination of Letter Edinburgh Edinburgh and East Scotland Europe inferred

Normalized Text

[Page 1]


Mr Spalding Gordon haveing been so unlucky
as to contract a Venereal Infection about 12 weeks
ago, it appear'd at first with a Swelling & Inflama¬
tion
of the prepuce & Glans with a small Chanker
or two
upon the former with little or no running
& soon after a little Knot made its appearance
in the left Groin which encreasd but very slowly
& with very little pain; He continued much
in the same State till he left Edinburgh about 10
weecks ago when the Symptoms were all encreasd
from the Journey; in particular the little
Knot
in the Groin encreasd much, with a good
deal of Pain & another small swelling also
formd it self in the Right Groin. These two con¬
tinued to encrease slowly in spite of some of
the usual Remedys & a Strict Regimen, till about




[Page 2]


7 weecks ago there was a different Fluctuation
to be felt in the Tumour of the left Groin; This
seemd to have been hastened by the topical appli¬
cation of a little very strong Strong Blue Ointment
upon the spot, this had been done in order to dis¬
cuss the Tumour if possible to which we had been
encouraged by the small degree of pain & In¬
flamation
that then accompanyed it. The
Tumour was opened pretty freely with a Lancet
& about three ounces of very thick & seemingly well
digested puss was discharged from it, the other Tumour
in like manner became more soft & was opened
in a weeck after & about an ounce of well digested
puss came out of it.
--- They were at first drest
with plain Yellow Basilicon Ointment as a digestive, but
on perceiving that thay did not clean from the
Bottom & internally they seemd to contain




[Page 3]


an undigested Mass like clotted blood in about
8 days a little of Red Mercuric Precipitate was added
to it, which seemd to have the Affect of cleaning
the sores better; but the lips of the Sore began
to look ugly & puffy & to contract the external
opening much upon which the Ointment
was made pretty strong with the præcipitate
& also some of the escharotic powder was used to
the Lips of the Sore's which answered the End so
far as to clean the sores both externally &
internally; But the parts never seemd to
coalesce inwardly & the discharge of matter was
surprizeingly great; which induced us to
change the ointment about 10 Days ago to the
plain digestive with which the Tents were
moistened & introduced in the usual way in order
to prevent the external opening from contrac¬
ting too much & to keep a clear passage open




[Page 4]


for the Matter. -- we were also induced to try
the moistening of the Tents in a little Balsam
Traumatic
in order to expede the internal
coalition but without effect as it seemd to
increase the Hardness & inflamation a good
deal tho it in part seemd to stop the flux of
Humours to the parts --- The sores have
continued pretty much in the same situation
for these 4 weecks by past only that the exter¬
nal openings have been gradually contracting.
the Cavity in the Left Groin lys upon the upper
side of the external opening slanting a little
outward's & run's about an inch & a quarter
above it, the Integuments seem to be pretty
thick over it, & it appears that it will contain
better than two Teaspoon fulls of Matter, & there
is still a good Deal of Hardness to be felt all
round the Edge of the Cavity & external Opening
tho very little pain accompanys it even on pressure
the Sinus in the right Groin lys also upon the




[Page 5]


upper Side of the external Orrifice slanting
a little inwards for about three quarters of an inch
& may contain near to a Spoonfull of Puss; it
has look'd kindly & in a healing way for these
8 Days tho without gaining any ground
there is much less hardness round it, & no pain
even from pressure.


At first the Strong Blue Ointment had
been used pretty freely about the Buboes &
præputium but without produceing any
Degree of Salivation
, it cured the Chanker
& remov'd the swelling of the Glans & prepuce
in a great Measure; but when the Buboes
were opened, it & all other Mercurials were
laid aside for ↑8 or↑ 10 Days, when the Groins were
again rubd pretty freely with the Blue Ointment
as also the Glans Penis & at the same
time there was some rubbed upon the
Legs this seemd to have little Effect for 5 or




[Page 6]


six Days when he was attacked all at once
with a violent Salivation which continued
to increase for 8 Days more in Spite of
giveing over the use of Mercurials & takeing
coolling laxative physick almost every Day
it rendered his Cheecks & Tongue so much
ulcerated that it is not as yet cured & has
prevented the further use of Mercurials.
At the Time that the Salivation was highest
the Discharge from the wounds were
greatest. --- Upon the Salivation going off
pretty much, the Discharge from the Sores
appeard to grow Ropey & is now thinner
than we could wish; upon which he began
to take the Bark which he has now continued
to take for six [or?] 7 Days. --- He has
all a long been makeing use of the Sarsapa¬
rilla Decoction
. It must be observd that




[Page 7]


no degree of Gonorhea accompanyed the
above Symptoms. ----


Mr: Spalding Gordon although very
much reduced in flesh
is not at present
other ways much exhausted. ----

Alex:r Copland

Dumfries
May 24.th 1775.



[Page 8]

Copland of Dumfries
about
Mr Spalding Gordon
May. ----75

Diplomatic Text

[Page 1]


Mr Spalding Gordon haveing been so unlucky
as to contract a Venereal Infection about 12 weeks
ago, it appear'd at first with a Swelling & Inflama¬
tion
of the prepuce & Glans with a small Chanker
or two
upon the former with little or no running
& soon after a little Knot made its appearance
in the left Groin which encreasd but very slowly
& with very little pain; He continued much
in the same State till he left Ednb about 10
weecks ago when the Symptoms were all encreasd
from the Journey; in particular the little
Knot
in the Groin encreasd much, with a good
deal of Pain & another small swelling also
formd it self in the Right Groin. These two con¬
tinued to encrease slowly in spite of some of
the usual Remedys & a Strict Regimen, till about




[Page 2]


7 weecks ago there was a different Fluctuation
to be felt in the Tumour of the left Groin; This
seemd to have been hastened by the topical appli¬
cation of a little very strong Ung:t Cærul: fortius
upon the spot, this had been done in order to dis¬
cuss the Tumour if possible to which we had been
encouraged by the small degree of pain & In¬
flamation
that then accompanyed it. The
Tumour was opened pretty freely with a Lancet
& about three ounces of very thick & seemingly well
digested puss was discharged from it, the other Tumour
in like manner became more soft & was opened
in a weeck after & about an ounce of well digested
puss came out of it.
--- They were at first drest
with plain Ung:t Basilic. fl: as a digestive, but
on perceiving that thay did not clean from the
Bottom & internally they seemd to contain




[Page 3]


an undigested Mass like clotted blood in about
8 days a little of Mercurc precip.t rubr: was added
to it, which seemd to have the Affect of cleaning
the sores better; but the lips of the Sore began
to look ugly & puffy & to contract the external
opening much upon which the Ointment
was made pretty strong with the præcipitate
& also some of the pulvis escharotic was used to
the Lips of the Sore's which answered the End so
far as to clean the sores both externally &
internally; But the parts never seemd to
coalesce inwardly & the discharge of matter was
surprizeingly great; which induced us to
change the ointment about 10 Days ago to the
plain digestive with which the Tents were
moistened & introduced in the usual way in order
to prevent the external opening from contrac¬
ting too much & to keep a clear passage open




[Page 4]


for the Matter. -- we were also induced to try
the moistening of the Tents in a little Balsam
Traumatic
in order to expede the internal
coalition but without effect as it seemd to
increase the Hardness & inflamation a good
deal tho it in part seemd to stop the flux of
Humours to the parts --- The sores have
continued pretty much in the same situation
for these 4 weecks by past only that the exter¬
nal openings have been gradually contracting.
the Cavity in the Left Groin lys upon the upper
side of the external opening slanting a little
outward's & run's about an inch & a quarter
above it, the Integuments seem to be pretty
thick over it, & it appears that it will contain
better than two Teaspoon fulls of Matter, & there
is still a good Deal of Hardness to be felt all
round the Edge of the Cavity & external Opening
tho very little pain accompanys it even on pressure
the Sinus in the right Groin lys also upon the




[Page 5]


upper Side of the external Orrifice slanting
a little inwards for about 3/4:rs of an inch
& may contain near to a Spoonfull of Puss; it
has look'd kindly & in a healing way for these
8 Days tho without gaining any ground
there is much less hardness round it, & no pain
even from pressure.


At first the Strong Blue Ointment had
been used pretty freely about the Buboes &
præputium but without produceing any
Degree of Salivation
, it cured the Chanker
& remov'd the swelling of the Glans & prepuce
in a great Measure; but when the Buboes
were opened, it & all other Mercurials were
laid aside for ↑8 or↑ 10 Days, when the Groins were
again rubd pretty freely with the Ung:t Cærul.
as also the Glans Penis & at the same
time there was some rubbed upon the
Legs this seemd to have little Effect for 5 or




[Page 6]


six Days when he was attacked all at once
with a violent Salivation which continued
to increase for 8 Days more in Spite of
giveing over the use of Mercurials & takeing
coolling laxative physick almost every Day
it rendered his Cheecks & Tongue so much
ulcerated that it is not as yet cured & has
prevented the further use of Mercurials.
At the Time that the Salivation was highest
the Discharge from the wounds were
greatest. --- Upon the Salivation going off
pretty much, the Discharge from the Sores
appeard to grow Ropey & is now thinner
than we could wish; upon which he began
to take the Bark which he has now continued
to take for six [or?] 7 Days. --- He has
all a long been makeing use of the Sarsapa¬
rilla Decoction
. It must be observd that




[Page 7]


no degree of Gonorhea accompanyed the
above Symptoms. ----


Mr: Spalding Gordon although very
much reduced in flesh
is not at present
other ways much exhausted. ----

Alex:r Copland

Dumfries
May 24.th 1775.



[Page 8]

Copland of Dumfries
about
Mr Spalding Gordon
May. ----75

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