James Lind

James Lind
A portrait of Scottish doctor James Lind (1716–1794)
Born(1716-10-04)4 October 1716
Edinburgh
Died13 July 1794(1794-07-13) (aged 77)
Gosport, Hampshire
EducationHigh School, Edinburgh
Edinburgh University (MD 1748)
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (LRCPE)
Known forPrevention of maritime diseases and cure for scurvy
Medical career
Professionmilitary surgeon
InstitutionsSurgeon, Royal Navy (1739–1748)
Physician, Edinburgh (1748–1758)
Senior Physician, Haslar Naval Hospital (1758–1783)
SpecialismNaval hygiene

James Lind FRSE FRCPE (4 October 1716 – 13 July 1794) was a Scottish physician. He was a pioneer of naval hygiene in the Royal Navy. By conducting one of the first ever clinical trials,[1][2] he developed the theory that citrus fruits cured scurvy. He argued for the health benefits of better ventilation aboard naval ships, the improved cleanliness of sailors' bodies, clothing and bedding, and below-deck fumigation with sulphur and arsenic. He also proposed that fresh water could be obtained by distilling sea water. His work advanced the practice of preventive medicine and improved nutrition.

Early life

Lind was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1716 into a family of merchants, then headed by his father, James Lind. He had an elder sister.[3] He was educated at the High School in Edinburgh.

In 1731 he began his medical studies as an apprentice of George Langlands,[4] a fellow of the Incorporation of Surgeons which preceded the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. In 1739, he entered the Navy as a surgeon's mate, serving in the Mediterranean, off the coast of West Africa and in the West Indies.[5] By 1747 he had become surgeon of HMS Salisbury in the Channel Fleet, and conducted his experiment on scurvy while that ship was patrolling the Bay of Biscay. Just after that patrol he left the Navy, wrote his MD thesis on venereal diseases and earned his MD from the University of Edinburgh Medical School, and was granted a licence to practice in Edinburgh, Scotland.[4]

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