Cullen

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

 

[ID:1263] From: Stewart Lyell / To: Mr Alexander Wood / Regarding: Lyell (Patient), Mrs Lyell (Gairdiner) (Patient), Mr John Gardiner (Captain or Mr Gardner or Gairdner of (North) Tarry or Tarrie; John Gairdner, younger, of North Tarrie) (Patient) / 6 April 1776 / (Incoming)

Letter from Stewart Lyell addressed to the Edinburgh surgeon Alexander Wood. Lyell briefly mentions the case of his wife and gives a detailed account of the case of his teenage son who is having seizures.

Facsimile

There are 4 images for this document.

[Page 1]


 

[Page 2]


 

[Page 3]


 

[Page 4]


 
 

Metadata

FieldData
DOC ID 1263
RCPE Catalogue Number CUL/1/2/363
Main Language English
Document Direction Incoming
Date6 April 1776
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 Stewart Lyell addressed to the Edinburgh surgeon Alexander Wood. Lyell briefly mentions the case of his wife and gives a detailed account of the case of his teenage son who is having seizures.
Manuscript Incomplete? No
Evidence of Commercial Posting Yes

Case

Cases that this document belongs to:

Case ID Description Num Docs
[Case ID:172]
Case of Captain John Gardiner, who has an ulcerated lip.
5
[Case ID:759]
Case of the twelve year old son of Mr Lyel [Lyell] who suffers from convulsive fits.
2
[Case ID:2073]
Case of Mrs Lyell, whose symptoms are not mentioned, but whose husband Stewart Lyell fears cannot be easily cured. She is very distressed since her teenage son started having seizures.
1


People linked to this document

Person IDRole in documentPerson
[PERS ID:584]Author Stewart Lyell
[PERS ID:588]AddresseeMr Alexander Wood
[PERS ID:586]PatientMrs Lyell
[PERS ID:587]PatientMr John Gardiner (Captain or Mr Gardner or Gairdner of (North) Tarry or Tarrie; John Gairdner, younger, of North Tarrie)
[PERS ID:585]Patient Lyell
[PERS ID:588]Patient's Physician / Surgeon / ApothecaryMr Alexander Wood
[PERS ID:1476]Patient's Physician / Surgeon / ApothecaryDr John Stevenson (in Arbroath)
[PERS ID:584]Patient's Relative / Spouse / Friend Stewart Lyell
[PERS ID:585]Patient's Relative / Spouse / Friend Lyell
[PERS ID:586]Patient's Relative / Spouse / FriendMrs Lyell

Places linked to this document

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

Normalized Text

[Page 1]
Arbroath 6th. Apr. 1776
Dear Sir


I'm sorry to acquaint you that my Wife is
no better than when you saw her, and indeed I'm afraid it is
not in the power of the Physician, but in time, to relieve her –


I have now the misfortune to have another of my Family, a
Boy between 12 & 13 years of age, labouring under a very uncom¬
mon Disorder; concerning which I beg leave to ask your Opinion.
About three Weeks ago, or a little more, he was seiz'd with a
pain in his fore-head which distress'd him so much that I kept
him from school, & gave him a Vomit & Physic – As the Distress
did not abate, I call'd Dr. Stevenson who was of Opinion that his
Complaint was occasion'd by some disorder in his Stomach, & there¬
fore repeated the Vomit & Physic; But to no purpose; still the
pain in his head continued – In the morning of Monday was
se-night 1 he complain'd of a pain in the small of his Back, but
not very violent till seven a clock at night when all of a sudden
it became intolerably severe, so that he cry'd out like a person in
agony, & toss'd the Bed-cloaths both with his hands & Feet – I sent
for the Doctor, who (supposing the Distress to be Rheumatism)
order'd his Back to be rubb'd with warm Flannel, & a piece
of Flannel to be wrap'd round his Waist, and went himself to
order an Ointment for rubbing his Back: But before the Oint¬
ment was got ready he came to be in such torture that I was
forced to go & bring back the Doctor, who bled him & gave him
Laudanum ~ He soon grew easier, & continued so throw the night:
But next morning, & every day since (except this day se-night)
he has been cruelly tormented with pains in his fore-head &
small of his Back, which seize him instantaneously by Fits, so



[Page 2]

that degree that he roars out & stamps with his Feet. Which
I am writing this he has had a most severe Fit that has
made him cry out as if one had been cuting him in pieces, &
stamp so as you would have thought him in danger of
breaking his LegsThe Fits have nothing convulsive in
them: But they are so severe that they seldom last above
one, two or three minutes, yet by the time they are over he
is so exhausted that he can scarcely speak _ At times he
will be several hours without a Fit, and at other times he
will have many Fits in one hour – The Doctor owns he never
had a Patient in such a situation, & that he is at a Loss
what Judgment to form of it – Hitherto he has treated him
as if Worms were the cause of his disorder; except that he
put a large Blister on the crown of his head & a strength'ning
Plaister
on his Back: But they have had no Effect, tho' the
Blister ran remarkably well – There is not yet the least
appearance of worms – For my own part I think it looks
some thing like Cramp; For when in the Fits his Body is com¬
monly bent backwards, & sometimes forwards; and he cannot be
brought out of that Posture till the Fit is over – His Pulse
is betwixt 60. & 70. & quite regular
– He generally sleeps well.
His Tongue is clean & he is seldom thirsty – When the Fits are
off he is in pretty good spirits, & then compaints of nothing
but a little pain in his fore-head & small of his Back _ What is
surprizing the Fits seem sometimes capable of being diverted; for he
seldom or never takes one when he is playing with his Compani¬
ons _ I beg, Sir, you will do me the favour to consider this very
extraordinary Case, and write me your Opinion of it, & how you
think it ought to be treated, as soon as you can _ It proves an
unhappy & a sore addition to my Wife's Distress. She joins me


[Page 3]

in offering respectful Compliments to Mrs. Wood & your good self
& I am


Sir
Your most obedient servant
Stewart Lyell


Dr. Stevenson offers you his Compliments
& desires me to acquaint you that the
old sore in Capt. Gairdner's Lip is whole:
But he is afraid of the other side of
the Lip, as there is a little sore ap¬
pearing where you would probably
observe a hardness – He says he is in
high hea↑l↑th & spirits as he is allways
told there is no danger; of which he
begs you will inform Doctor Cullen –




[Page 3]


Mr. Alexander Wood
Surgeon in
Edinburgh


Lyell's Son
April 1776
Vol. V. p. 14.


Lyell's Son

Notes:

1: More commonly written 'sennight', meaning ' a week' (literally 'seven nights').

Diplomatic Text

[Page 1]
Arbroath 6th. Apr. 1776
Dear Sir


I'm sorry to acquaint you that my Wife is
no better than when you saw her, and indeed I'm afraid it is
not in the power of the Physician, but in time, to relieve her –


I have now the misfortune to have another of my Family, a
Boy between 12 & 13 years of age, labouring under a very uncom¬
mon Disorder; concerning which I beg leave to ask your Opinion.
About three Weeks ago, or a little more, he was seiz'd with a
pain in his fore-head which distress'd him so much that I kept
him from school, & gave him a Vomit & Physic – As the Distress
did not abate, I call'd Dr. Stevenson who was of Opinion that his
Complaint was occasion'd by some disorder in his Stomach, & there¬
fore repeated the Vomit & Physic; But to no purpose; still the
pain in his head continued – In the morning of Monday was
se-night 1 he complain'd of a pain in the small of his Back, but
not very violent till seven a clock at night when all of a sudden
it became intolerably severe, so that he cry'd out like a person in
agony, & toss'd the Bed-cloaths both with his hands & Feet – I sent
for the Doctor, who (supposing the Distress to be Rheumatism)
order'd his Back to be rubb'd with warm Flannel, & a piece
of Flannel to be wrap'd round his Waist, and went himself to
order an Ointment for rubbing his Back: But before the Oint¬
ment was got ready he came to be in such torture that I was
forced to go & bring back the Doctor, who bled him & gave him
Laudanum ~ He soon grew easier, & continued so throw the night:
But next morning, & every day since (except this day se-night)
he has been cruelly tormented with pains in his fore-head &
small of his Back, which seize him instantaneously by Fits, so



[Page 2]

that degree that he roars out & stamps with his Feet. Which
I am writing this he has had a most severe Fit that has
made him cry out as if one had been cuting him in pieces, &
stamp so as you would have thought him in danger of
breaking his LegsThe Fits have nothing convulsive in
them: But they are so severe that they seldom last above
one, two or three minutes, yet by the time they are over he
is so exhausted that he can scarcely speak _ At times he
will be several hours without a Fit, and at other times he
will have many Fits in one hour – The Doctor owns he never
had a Patient in such a situation, & that he is at a Loss
what Judgment to form of it – Hitherto he has treated him
as if Worms were the cause of his disorder; except that he
put a large Blister on the crown of his head & a strength'ning
Plaister
on his Back: But they have had no Effect, tho' the
Blister ran remarkably well – There is not yet the least
appearance of worms – For my own part I think it looks
some thing like Cramp; For when in the Fits his Body is com¬
monly bent backwards, & sometimes forwards; and he cannot be
brought out of that Posture till the Fit is over – His Pulse
is betwixt 60. & 70. & quite regular
– He generally sleeps well.
His Tongue is clean & he is seldom thirsty – When the Fits are
off he is in pretty good spirits, & then compaints of nothing
but a little pain in his fore-head & small of his Back _ What is
surprizing the Fits seem sometimes capable of being diverted; for he
seldom or never takes one when he is playing with his Compani¬
ons _ I beg, Sir, you will do me the favour to consider this very
extraordinary Case, and write me your Opinion of it, & how you
think it ought to be treated, as soon as you can _ It proves an
unhappy & a sore addition to my Wife's Distress. She joins me


[Page 3]

in offering respectful Compliments to Mrs. Wood & your good self
& I am


Sir
Your most obedt. servt.
Stewart Lyell


Dr. Stevenson offers you his Complimts.
& desires me to acquaint you that the
old sore in Capt. Gairdner's Lip is whole:
But he is afraid of the other side of
the Lip, as there is a little sore ap¬
pearing where you would probably
observe a hardness – He says he is in
high hea↑l↑th & spirits as he is allways
told there is no danger; of which he
begs you will inform Doctor Cullen –




[Page 3]


Mr. Alexander Wood
Surgeon in
Edinbr.


Lyell's Son
April 1776
Vol. V. p. 14.


Lyell's Son

Notes:

1: More commonly written 'sennight', meaning ' a week' (literally 'seven nights').

XML

XML file not yet available.

Feedback

Send us specfic feeback about this document [DOC ID:1263]

Type
Comments
 

Please note that the Cullen Project team have now disbanded but your comments will be logged in our system and we will look at them one day...