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J Med Biogr. 2006 Nov;14(4):218-22.

John Wesley (1708-91).


John Wesley was a competent physician, quite capable of the diagnosis and care of patients. His Primitive Physic provides a picture of therapy in the eighteenth century but he rejected the bleeding and purging which were common at that time. He was ahead of his time in his emphasis on hygiene, cleanliness and simple living. In this he has been regarded as a pioneer of preventive medicine. He was in the forefront of the philanthropic movement in his provision of Dispensaries for the poor and his care of the sick and elderly. In spite of this he does not seem to have had a direct influence on the physicians of the day. Loudon does not mention him in his Origins and Growth of the Dispensary Movement in England and Clarke only gives him a passing reference in his History of The Royal College of Physicians. He experimented with electrotherapy and it seems likely he was one of those who saw that electricity could be the 'greatest step forward' in medicine as a whole.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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