Lesassier Hamilton A (1816)

Dissertatio Medica Inauguralis De Synocho Castrensi [Inaugural medical dissertation on camp fever]. Edinburgh: J Ballantyne.
In 1816, the British army surgeon Alexander Lesassier Hamilton reported a controlled trial done during the Peninsular War to assess the effects of bloodletting for fever.

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“It had been so arranged, that this number was admitted, alternately, in such a manner that each of us had one third of the whole. The sick were indiscriminately received, and were attended as nearly as possible with the same care and accommodated with the same comforts. One third of the whole were soldiers of the 61st Regiment, the remainder of my own (the 42nd) Regiment. Neither Mr Anderson nor I ever once employed the lancet. He lost two, I four cases; whilst out of the other third [treated with bloodletting by the third surgeon] thirty five patients died.”

Translation by IML Donaldson

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Video / Audio

‘Listen to the Skeptics’ Guide to EM podcast of Dr Robert Leeper assessing Alexander Lesassier Hamilton’s controlled trial of bloodletting for camp fever.”

Podcast Link: SGEM200