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Exhibition honours ‘father of naval medicine’

7 September 2016
An exhibition marking the 300th anniversary of the birth of a pioneering Navy surgeon takes place in Gosport on September 10 and 11.

The event, at the Institute of Naval Medicine, Alverstoke, chronicles the fascinating life of James Lind who became known as the Father of Naval Medicine after discovering a cure for scurvy.

Included in the exhibition will be contemporary illustrations of the effects of scurvy, copies of books by Lind and other books on the disease.

Before Lind’s discovery more sailors were dying from the disease than were killed in battle.

Born on October 4 1716, Lind joined the Navy in 1739 and was ship’s surgeon on board HMS Salisbury in 1747 when he carried out what is thought to be the first recorded clinical experiment.

Twelve sailors with the same degree of scurvy were divided into six pairs, given the same basic diet and treated with six different remedies for scurvy.

Those on citrus fruits – two oranges and a lemon each day – were well enough a week later to nurse the others.

Later the Admiralty gave a formal order for the daily issue of lemon juice, with Lind’s discovery having a significant impact on the strength of the Navy’s fighting force.

His work led to an appointment as physician to Haslar Hospital at Gosport in 1758 and he went on to write papers on fevers and infections and an essay on diseases incidental to Europeans in hot climates.

Lind resigned from his Haslar post in 1783 and died in Gosport in 1794. He is buried in the graveyard of the church in Portchester Castle.

The exhibition is part of Gosport Heritage Open Days and more information can be found at www.gosportheritage.co.uk

 Founded in 1969, the INM is the home of the Navy’s medical training and provides extensive research and laboratory facilities to all three services.

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