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Term: physician
References: Post Captain, pages 62, 168
HMS Surprise, pages 76, 88, 225
The Mauritius Command, page 35
Desolation Island, page 14
The Ionian Mission, page 70
The Far Side of the World, pages 54, 57, 153
The Surgeon's Mate, pages 176, 322
The Letter of Marque, pages 58, 210, 273
The Thirteen-Gun Salute, pages 18, 101, 109, 139
The Nutmeg of Consolation, pages 21, 23, 54, 86, 116
The Hundred Days, page 29
Blue at the Mizzen, pages 121, 204
Meaning: A person qualified to perform the healing arts — not just surgery.

Additional information

At the time of the Canon, physicians were considered to be learned professionals who had studied medicine and could prescribe courses of treatments (often to very little effect). They would very rarely actually examine a patient. Surgeons were considered to be unqualified technical people who performed crude operations with limited chances of the patient surviving. Aboard a naval ship, the surgeon was a warrant officer who had to have a certificate of proficiency from the Board of Sick and Hurt, but no formal academic training. His primary duties were the treatment of injuries and wounds. He could prescribe doses to the crew but the medicines were usually of poor quality and very limited effectiveness.

Maturin's Medicine — This article is based on information from Maturin's Medicine, compiled and edited by Kerry Webb, with the help of a number of contributors.

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