Benjamin Guy Babington
Biography of Benjamin Guy Babington
Benjamin Guy Babington was the son of the physician William Babington (1756-1833). He was educated at Charterhouse before joining the Royal Navy, serving as midshipman at the Battle of Copenhagen in 1891 as well as at Walcheren.
In 1812, after two years of study at the East India Company's college at Haileybury, Hertfordshire, he entered the Indian service at the presidency of Madras. He obtained such a thorough understanding of Oriental languages and Sanskrit, that already at the age of twenty he was able to publish the first grammar of the Indian language Tanul.
Babington health suffered from the Indian climate, however, and he returned to England. He then studied medicine at Guy's Hospital, London, and Pembroke College, Cambridge, receiving his doctorate from the latter in 1831. He later became a fellow of the College of Physicians.
When cholera first came to England in 1832, he conducted investigations into it and was the first in England to describe the exanthema that is observed with cholera.
In 1837 Babington became assistant physician, at Guy's - ahead of Hodgkin. This aroused a great deal of controversy and acrimonious debate. The treasurer of the hospital said he would have no one at Guy's hospital that was seen in the company of a North American Indian - a reference to Hodgkin's well-known liberal tendencies - he was a founder of the Aborigine Society.
Babington was also probably helped by his family connections; his father had been a physician at Guy's and his sister was Richard Bright's first wife. Babington resigned from Guy's in 1855 following a disagreement with the hospital administration over restriction of access of students to the hospital.
Babington was a member of the board of the Royal Society, and in his quality as member of the Medical Council of the General Board of Health, received several government assignments in investigations. In 1863 he was also president of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society. Having become convinced of the importance of research in epidemics, he in 1850 became founder of the Epidemiological Society, of which he was chairman for many years, and published several valuable papers in its transactions.
Babington was a man of many talents; a skilled sculptor and painter, as well as a linguist and translator of verse; a fine billiard player and a good shot. To Babington, furthering science was more important than gaining personal fame. He was an amiable, sociable character, as well as a highly skilled physician, familiar with all the possibilities available to medical science.
He was one of the first to put Victor Théodore Junod's (1809-1881) hemopsy to use, and invented a curved stethoscope, a hygrometer. He was very clever in using mirrors for investigations of the throat. In 1828 he invented an instrument, which he called the glottiscope for examining the larynx - the first laryngoscope. He was the first to introduce routine indirect laryngoscopy. He wrote on cholera, epilepsy and chorea, and was one of the first to suggest that fibrin was formed in the blood from a more soluble precursor. He died from renal and bladder disease on April 8, 1866.
Well versed in foreign languages, Babington took an interest in translations, and 1833-1836 published four papers from J. F. K. Hecker’s Epidemics of the Middle Ages, which was later expanded, and published by the Sydenham Society. He also published Baron Ernst Von Feuchtersleben’s (1806-1849) Principles of Medical Psychology.
- Victor Théodore Junod:
- Méthode hémospasique. 1843.
- De l'hémospasie. Recueil de mémoires sur les effets thérapeutiques de cette méthode. 1850.
- Considerations sur les effets thérapeutiques de l'hémospasie. 1858.
- Nouvelles considérations sur les effets thérapeutiques de l'hémospasie. 1858.
- Traité théorique et pratique de l'hémospasie. 1875.
Justus Friedrich Karl Hecker (1795-1850):
- Der schwarze Tod im 14. Jahrhundert. Ein historischer Versuch. Berlin, 1832; English translation, London, 1833.
- Die Tanzwuth, eine Volkskrankheit im Mittelalter. Nach den Quellen für Aerzte und gebildete Nichtärzte bearbeitet.
Berlin, 1832; English translation, London, 1835.
- Der englische Schweiss. Ein ärztlicher Beitrag xur Geschichte des 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts.
1834. English translation, London, 1836.
These essays on the Black Death, the dancing mania and the English sweat, were published in a collective English edition as The Epidemics of the Middle Ages, 2 parts, London, 1833-1835.
- Ernst Freiherr von Feuchtersleben (1806-1849):
Lehrbuch der ärztlichen Seelenkunde. Wien, C. Gerold, 1845.
English translation by H. Evans Lloyd: The Principles of Medical Psychology. Published by the Sydenham Society, London, 1847.
Feuchtersleben introduced the terms psychosis, psychiatrics, and psycopathology. Benjamin Guy Babington:
- [Description of the glottiscope].
London Medical Gazette, 2829, 3: 555.
Babington was responsible for the introduction of laryngoscopy. He demonstrated a crude "glottiscope" to the Hunterian Society on March 18, 1829, but his effort attracted little attention.
- Some considerations with respect to the blood, founded on one or two very simple experiments on that fluid.
Medico-Chirurgical Transactions, London, 1830, volume 16.
- Morbid conditions of the blood.
In Robert Bentley Todd, et al: The Cyclopaedia of Anatomy and Physiology. Volume 1, 1835. (5 vols. London, 1836- 1859).
Her er det noe som ikke stemmer.
- The cholera in the Black Sea and Baltic fleets in 1854.
Transactions of the Epidemiological Society of London.
- Rubeola notha.
Transactions of the Epidemiological Society of London.
- The means of diminishing the prevalence of syphilis in civil life. Transactions of the Epidemiological Society of London.
- Hereditary epistaxis. Lancet, London, 1865, 2: 362-363.
- Medical Times and Gazette, London, 1866, I, page 429.
- Lancet, London, 1866, I, page 445.
- Transactions of the Epidemiological Society of London, 1866, II: 471.