Publisher Information: 1856-58.
Wilks, Samuel (1824-1911). Two autograph letters signed to Alfred Swaine Taylor (1806-80), dated 5 April and 19 April 1858, plus autograph document signed titled “Poisoning by sulphuric acid.” 10pp. total. [London], 1856-1858. 181 x 112 mm. (letters); 326 x 202 mm. (document). Very good. Docketed by Taylor.
From British physician Samuel Wilks, author of classic accounts of visceral syphilis, myasthenia gravis, alcoholic paraplegia and bacterial endocarditis (see Garrison-Morton.com 2389, 4745, 4539, 2769), and coiner of the term “Hodgkin’s disease” (see Garrison-Morton.com 3764). His correspondent was Alfred Swaine Taylor, founder of forensic toxicology, expert on poisons, and the leading medical jurist in England in the mid-nineteenth century (see Garrison-Morton.com 1738, 10729). Both men were associated with Guy’s Hospital.
Wilks’s letters discuss a case of eczema treated with liquor arsenicalis and the varying effects of the drug in different patients: “The subject has always been of interest to us in the wards—why one patient should suffer the poisonous effects of the drug in a few days, & another take it with impunity for several months . . . In two cases of children lately under my care when arsenic produced a cure in a few days, I imagine the poison was stored up in the system” (letter of 5 April). The accompanying three-page case history, docketed as “Copy of Inspection no. 211 for 1856,” describes a postmortem examination on the body of a 56-year-old man who died after being treated for swallowing “a dessert spoonful of oil of vitriol”; i.e., sulfuric acid.Book Id: 45053