By Thomas P. Lowry
One of many maximum demanding situations confronted by way of William Clark and Meriwether Lewis on their 1804–6 Corps of Discovery excursion was once that of scientific emergencies at the path. with out an attending health care professional, even regimen diseases and accidents can have tragic outcomes for the expedition’s luck and the protection of its contributors. of those hazards, the main insidious and very likely devastating was once the gradual, painful, and many times deadly ravage of venereal disease. Physician Thomas P. Lowry delves into the area of nineteenth-century medication, uncovering the expedition’s very genuine worry of venereal sickness. Lewis and Clark knew they have been not likely to avoid their males from forming sexual liaisons at the path, in order that they ready for the implications of encounters with in all probability contaminated humans, in addition to the results of preexisting ailment, by way of stocking themselves with medication and the most recent medical wisdom from the easiest minds in the USA. Lewis and Clark’s day trip encountered local peoples who skilled venereal illness because of liaisons with French, British, Spanish, and Canadian tourists and had their very own tools for curing its sufferers, or no less than for alleviating the ache it inflicted. Lowry’s cautious learn of the explorers’ journals sheds new mild in this missed point of the day trip, displaying intimately how intercourse and venereal affliction affected the lads and their undertaking, and describes how assorted peoples confronted a typical hazard with the easiest wisdom and instruments at their disposal.
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The second point, central to our subject, is that 15 percent of the medical shopping list was made up of items for the treatment of gonorrhea or syphilis. Two items were earmarked for gonorrhea: sugar of lead was mixed with water and injected up the urethra with a penis syringe; copaiba was given orally. The next sixty years seem to have brought few changes in the treatment of gonorrhea. The 1864 edition of F. J. Bumstead’s text Pathology and Treatment of Venereal Disease, widely used by Union surgeons, recommended many types of urethral irrigations for gonorrhea, including this one: ‘‘Rx liq.