seamus dubhghaill

Promoting Irish Culture and History from Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

Death of John Moore Neligan, Physician & Medical Teacher

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atlas-of-cutaneous-diseasesJohn Moore Neligan, one of the foremost physicians and medical teachers of his day, dies on July 24, 1863. Neligan, son of a medical practitioner, is born at Clonmel, County Tipperary, in 1815. He graduates M.D. at Edinburgh in 1836, and begins practice in his birthplace. He later moves to Cork, where he lectures on materia medica and medical botany in a private school of anatomy, medicine, and surgery in Warren’s Place.

In 1840 he takes a house in Dublin, and in 1841 is appointed physician to the Jervis Street Hospital. He also gives lectures on materia medica from 1841 to 1846, and on medicine from 1846 to 1857, in the Dublin school of Peter Street. He publishes in 1844 Medicines, their Uses and Mode of Administration, which gives an account of all the drugs mentioned in the London, Scottish, and Irish pharmacopœias, and of some others. Their sources, medicinal actions, doses, and most useful compounds are clearly stated. The compilation, though containing no original matter, is useful to medical practitioners, and goes through many editions.

Neligan enjoys the friendship of Robert James Graves, the famous lecturer on medicine, and in 1848 edits the second edition of his Clinical Lectures on the Practice of Medicine. In the same year he publishes The Diagnosis and Treatment of Eruptive Diseases of the Scalp, which is printed at the Dublin University Press. He describes as inflammatory diseases herpes, eczema, impetigo, and pityriasis, and as non-inflammatory porrigo, and gives a lucid statement of their characteristics in tabular form. He is unaware, however, of the parasitic nature of herpes capitis, as he calls ringworm, and seems not to have noticed the frequent relation between eczema of the occiput and animal parasites.

From 1849 to 1861 he edits the Dublin Quarterly Journal of Medical Science, and publishes many medical papers of his own in it. In 1852 he publishes A Practical Treatise on Diseases of the Skin, and, like most men who attain notoriety as dermatologists, issues in 1855 a coloured Atlas of Skin Diseases. His treatise is a compilation from standard authors, with a very small addition from his own experience. The subject is well arranged, and so set forth as to be useful to practitioners. It is much read, and leads to his treating many patients with cutaneous affections.

Neligan suffers from kidney disease in his final years. On July 17, he begins to feel unwell and returns to his country residence, Clonmel House, and goes to bed, from which he never rises again. Over the next few days his kidneys ceased to function altogether and he slips into a coma. John Moore Neligan dies on July 24, 1863.

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