Person    | Male  Born 10/4/1707  Died 18/1/1782

Sir John Pringle

Categories: Armed Forces, Medicine

Countries: France, Netherlands, Scotland

Military physician. Born Roxburghshire, Scotland. Studied in Flanders/Netherlands, where he later returned in his role as military physician, and Paris. Instituted sanitary reforms first on battlefields and promoted their extension into the urban environment. Initiated the idea of battlefield hospitals being neutral territory. 1748 settled in London, continued medical practice and published papers. Wrote a well-respected work on typhus. President of the Royal Society 1772-8. Died a few days after suffering a probably stroke at his club, Watson's in the Strand.

2023: An article in Big Think, by Richard Conniff, informs that in 1752 Pringle arranged to marry the daughter of William Oliver, MD, also a prominent military physician. Charlotte Oliver was 24 years old, and Pringle 45. After little more than a year, divorce being impossible, she obtained a deed of separation, and died shortly after, aged 25. Writing about Pringle, his friend James Boswell, referred to the “unhappy marriage” and to Dr. Oliver’s “severe verses" after Charlotte's death.

Conniff found that verse published pseudonymously in a magazine and, in poetic terms, it accuses Pringle of fiercely, incessantly, abusing his wife, laying her blooms to waste. This appears to have had no effect on Pringle's reputation at the time, but Conniff took the accusation seriously enough to exclude Pringle from his book 'Ending Epidemics A History of Escape from Contagion', Richard Conniff, 2023.

This section lists the memorials where the subject on this page is commemorated:
Sir John Pringle

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