The Asclepiad

Benjamin Ward Richardson

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Excerpt from The Asclepiad: A Book of Original Research and Observation in the Science, Art, and Literature of Medicine, Preventive and Curative; 1885

I Have under my care at this moment, and have had for some years, a lady who suffers, from time to time, from sudden and complete failure of the circulation in the fingers of one or other hand. To the condition thus occurring I give the name of local syncope, or suspended life in local surfaces.

This case does not stand alone in my observation. I have seen at least two other similar instances, to which I shall refer before I lay down the pen. But the particular case I refer to is so typical I shall make it the foundation of the present essay.

The patient is over fifty years of age; she has, altogether, enjoyed fair although not robust health. She has passed through much domestic trouble; she has been subject to many strains on the emotional faculties, and thereby to frequent disturbance of the circulation, with feeble and irregular action of the heart. She is of spare build and nervous temperament. She recalls no constitutional hereditary tendency to the particular condition under consideration; but there has been both gout and rheumatism amongst the members of her family.

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