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Darwin's Illness$
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Ralph Colp Jr.

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780813032313

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813032313.001.0001

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Prolonged Vomiting and Treatments from Doctors Jenner, Chapman, and Bence Jones

Prolonged Vomiting and Treatments from Doctors Jenner, Chapman, and Bence Jones

(p.98) 12 Prolonged Vomiting and Treatments from Doctors Jenner, Chapman, and Bence Jones
Darwin's Illness

Ralph Colp Jr. M.D.

University Press of Florida

Charles Darwin went on to express frustrations over Dr. William Jenner's frequent changes of medication and with treatments by other doctors. He vomited almost every day from 21 April through 1 May. He then recalled that, several months earlier, Dr. John Chapman had sent him a book that he described as being “on the cure of Sea Sickness”, which at first he had not acknowledged receiving or read. Darwin now read Dr. Chapman's book, decided to try the ice treatment, and on 16 May asked Dr. Chapman to come to Down. At first, for two days, Darwin was free of flatulence and vomiting, but during the next few days the symptoms recurred. Darwin's prolonged vomiting may have been an immediate stimulus for him to consult with Dr. Henry Bence Jones. Over the next six weeks, as he continued to follow this treatment and restrict his daily intake of food, the number of entries in Emma's diary on his illness slowly decreased. Three episodes of illness that Darwin treated by himself, aided as always by Emma, were quite different in their causations and nature.

Keywords:   Charles Darwin, Dr. William Jenner, Dr. John Chapman, Dr. Henry Bence Jones, vomiting, flatulence, ice treatment, food intake

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