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Two forgotten pioneers. James Carson and George Bodington.
  1. R Y Keers


    James Carson, a Scot, graduated from Edinburgh in 1799. He settled in Liverpool where he became a successful and respected physician and where he also found time to pursue a longstanding interest in physiology and to conduct certain important experiments. He read a series of papers on these experiments and their import before the Literary and Philosophical Society of Liverpool of which the two most important were On the elasticity of the lungs and On lesions of the lungs. In the first he clarified the mechanics of respiration while in the second he suggested that this knowledge might be employed to produce temporary collapse of the lung as a therapeutic measure. Two attempts at a clinical trial were defeated by widespread pleural adhesions but the first recorded attempts at artificial pneumothorax had been made. George Bodington, a Warwickshire man, after serving a surgical apprenticeship studied at St Bartholomew's Hospital and obtained the licence of the Society of Apothecaries in 1825. He later practised near Sutton Coldfield where he was known as an acute observer and a thoughtful and fluent speaker. In 1840 he published an essay on the treatment and cure of pulmonary consumption in which he roundly condemned the current therapy and advocated instead fresh air in abundance, gentle exercise in the open, an adequate and varied diet, and a minimum of medicaments. Violently attacked by the reviewers he became discouraged about tuberculosis and devoted the remainder of his professional life to the care of the mentally ill.

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