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[p. 171] may smell offensively not in one way only, but in a great many different respects (which cannot be put into words, although perfectly appreciable to the senses), would, I imagine, condemn in no measured terms the carelessness of Erasistratus in omitting a consideration so essential to the practice of our art.
Thus it is clear what errors in regard to the subject of dropsies logically follow this carelessness. For, does it not show the most extreme carelessness to suppose that the blood is prevented from going forward into the liver owing to the narrowness of the passages, and
that dropsy can never occur in any other way? For, to imagine that dropsy is never caused by the spleen
Erasistratus held the spleen to be useless. cf. p. 143.
or any other part, but always by induration of the liver,
Induration: Gk. skirros, Lat. skirrhus. The condition is now commonly know by Laennec's term cirrhosis, from Gk. kirros, meaning yellow or tawny. Here again we have an example of Erasistratus's bias towards anatomical or structural rather than functional explanations of disease. cf. p. 124, note 1.
is the standpoint of a man whose intelligence is perfectly torpid and who is quite out of touch with things that happen every day. For, not merely once or twice, but frequently, we have observed dropsy produced by chronic haemorrhoids which have been suppressed,
On the risks which were supposed to attend the checking of habitual bleeding from piles of cf. Celsus (De Re Med. VI. xviii. 9), "Atque in quiusdam parum tuto supprimitur, qui sanguinis profluvio imbecilliores noon fiunt; habent enim purgationem hanc, non morbum." (i.e. the habit was to be looked on as a periodical cleansing, not as a disease.)
or which, through immoderate bleeding, have given the patient a severe chill; similarly, in women, the complete disappearance of the monthly discharge,
or an undue evacuation such as is caused by violent bleeding from the womb, often provoke dropsy; and in some of them the so-called female flux ends in this disorder. I leave out of account