Anthony Fothergill (physician)


Fothergill was born in 1732, or, according to other accounts, 1735, in Sedbergh, Yorkshire. He studied medicine at the university of Edinburgh
University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583, is a public research university located in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The university is deeply embedded in the fabric of the city, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university...

, where he graduated M.D. October 1763 with a dissertation ‘De Febre Intermittente,’ and afterwards continued his studies at Leyden and Paris. By the advice of the eminent Dr. John Fothergill
John Fothergill
John Fothergill may refer to:*John Fothergill , English physician and botanist*John Fothergill , English merchant*John Milner Fothergill...

 (who was an intimate friend, but not a relative of Anthony), he settled as a physician at Northampton, where, after some preliminary difficulties, he was successful in practice, and was in 1774 appointed physician to the Northampton Infirmary. He was admitted licentiate of the College of Physicians 30 September 1779, and F.R.S. in 1778. On the death of John Fothergill, in 1780, Anthony removed to London, and established himself in the house in Harpur Street, Red Lion Square, formerly occupied by his namesake, in the hope of succeeding to his professional business. But in this he was disappointed, and not prospering in London he removed in 1784 to Bath, where he acquired a large and lucrative practice.

In 1803 he retired from active life, and went to Philadelphia, where he lived for some years, and where he apparently intended to pass the rest of his days, but was recalled to England by the prospect of war in 1812, and died in London 11 May 1813. By his will he left a considerable part of his large fortune to charitable institutions in London, Bath, and Philadelphia.


His will also set aside £1,000 to publishing his works: the editing and selection he desired to be undertaken by his friend Dr. Lettsom. Lettsom died two years later, and no selection from the manuscripts, in twelve folio volumes, was made for publication.

Fothergill had chemical knowledge, which he made use of in analysing mineral water
Mineral water
Mineral water is water containing minerals or other dissolved substances that alter its taste or give it therapeutic value, generally obtained from a naturally occurring mineral spring or source. Dissolved substances in the water may include various salts and sulfur compounds...

s. But he was best known for his researches and publications on the methods of restoring persons apparently dead from drowning
Drowning is death from asphyxia due to suffocation caused by water entering the lungs and preventing the absorption of oxygen leading to cerebral hypoxia....

; for his essay on this subject he received, in 1794, a gold medal from the Royal Humane Society
Royal Humane Society
The Royal Humane Society is a British charity which promotes lifesaving intervention. It was founded in England in 1774 as the Society for the Recovery of Persons Apparently Drowned, for the purpose of rendering first aid in cases of near drowning....

. His other medical books have mostly some reference to health or diet, and he published a number of records of cases.

He wrote: 1. ‘Hints for Restoring Animation, and for Preserving Mankind against Noxious Vapours,’ Lond. 1783 (Munk), 3rd edit. 2. ‘Experimental Enquiry into Nature of the Cheltenham Water,’ Bath, 1785, 1788, &c. 3. ‘Cautions to the Heads of Families concerning the Poison of Lead and Copper,’ Lond. and Bath, 1790. 4. ‘A New Enquiry into the Suspension of Vital Action in Cases of Drowning and Suffocation,’ Lond. 1795, Bath, 1795, &c. (prize essay). 5. ‘Essay on the Abuse of Spirituous Liquors,’ Bath, 1796. 6. ‘A Preservative Plan, or Hints for Preservation of Persons Exposed to Accidents which Suspend Vital Action,’ Lond. 1798. 7. ‘On the Nature of the Disease produced by Bite of a Mad Dog,’ Bath, 1799. 8. ‘On Preservation of Shipwrecked Mariners,’ in answer to prize questions of Royal Humane Society, Lond. 1799.

Some of these books are virtually repetitions of earlier ones; 4 and 6 were translated into German. In Philosophical Transactions he wrote ‘On a Cure of St. Vitus's Dance by Electricity’ (vol. lxix.), and one other paper. He contributed seven papers to ‘Memoirs of Medical Society of London,’ including ‘On the Epidemic Catarrh, or Influenza, at Northampton in 1775’ (vol. iii.); ‘On Arteriotomy in Epilepsy’ (vol. v.), &c. Also memoirs in ‘Medical Observations and Enquiries’ (vol. iii. 1767), and in ‘Medical Commentaries’ (vol. ii.). In Gentleman's Magazine (vol. lxxxi. pt. i. p. 367) he published a poem on the ‘Triumvirate of Worthies, Howard, Hawes, and Berchtold.’
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