Female patients and practitioners in medieval Islam
Pormann, Peter E. (2009) Female patients and practitioners in medieval Islam. The Lancet, Vol.373 (No.9675). pp. 1598-1599. ISSN 0140-6736Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(09)60895-3
A woman “who spoke confusedly”, laughed excessively, and “was red in her face” came to see the famous clinician al-Rāzī (died c 925), a hospital director both in his native Rayy (near modern Teheran) and Baghdad. He diagnosed her as suffering from melancholy (mālinkhūliyā), a disease akin to madness (junūn) and caused by an excess of black bile. He ordered his female patient to have her blood let at the median cubital vein, and to take a decoction of epithyme. The outcome of the treatment is not recorded, but al-Rāzī declared it to be sound (salīm). This case history offers us a rare glance of such an encounter; in general, most of our sources are silent about female patients and practitioners in the medieval Islamic world, so that it is difficult to tell their story. Yet, as they constituted roughly half the population, we may rightly ask how they experienced disease and accessed health care. In the theoretical literature, women appear mostly in two contexts, that of disorders specific to women; and that of disease that affect women differently from men. An example of the latter is again melancholy, believed to occur more rarely, but also more severely, in women.
|Item Type:||Journal Item|
|Subjects:||R Medicine > R Medicine (General)|
|Divisions:||Faculty of Arts > Classics and Ancient History|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Muslim women -- Medical care -- History -- To 1500, Medicine, Medieval, Medicine, Arab|
|Journal or Publication Title:||The Lancet|
|Publisher:||Lancet Publishing Group|
|Date:||9 May 2009|
|Number of Pages:||2|
|Page Range:||pp. 1598-1599|
|Access rights to Published version:||Restricted or Subscription Access|
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