University of Virginia Historical Collections at the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library

Thomas Sydenham (1624-1689)

Observationes medicae: circa morborum acutorum historiam & curationem. [London?: s.n.], 1695.

Sydenham, Observationes medicae…, p 39
Thomas Sydenham. Observationes medicae…. Note the initial.
Sydenham, Observationes medicae…, p 127
Thomas Sydenham. Observationes medicae…. The “Sectio secunda,” concerns the plague epidemic of 1665-1666 in London.
Sydenham, Observationes medicae…, title page
Thomas Sydenham. Observationes medicae….

Thomas Sydenham re-introduced what he thought of as the Hippocratic method of clinical observation based on broad personal experience. Despite his acquaintance with Robert Boyle, John Locke, and other progressive thinkers, Sydenham showed little interest in academic medicine. He distrusted scientific innovation, asking instead how anatomy, dissections, and microscopes could improve the lives of his patients. His interest lay in clinical practice: finding the proper treatment for disease in order to relieve human suffering. In his most important work, Observationes medicae, Sydenham recorded the natural history of diseases with empirical zeal, explaining his methods and how to apply them.

next author: Marcello Malpighi (1628-1694).