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The Physick House

The 18th century mansion of the “Father of American Surgery”

Description

The Experience

Medical drama. Great wealth. Marital scandal. Forced by his father to study medicine, Dr. Philip Syng Physick became one of the most accomplished physicians of his time. A 19th century soap opera ensued when his wife left him, something unheard of in that era. From a medical office located in his spectacular mansion, he treated his high-profile patients including Dolley Madison, President Andrew Jackson and Chief Justice John Marshall.

Richly furnished in the Empire and Federal styles, the home includes some of the medical and surgical tools he invented-bloodletting instruments, stomach pumps, clamps, and tubes to remove kidney stones. Primitive, yes, but Dr. Physick’s treatments were on the cutting edge of 18th and 19th century medical technology.

History

When the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1793 swept through Philadelphia, it wiped out 10 percent of the population. People fled the city in droves leaving behind African-Americans, who were thought to be immune to the disease, to care for the sick and dying. Dr. Physick was one of the few physicians who stayed behind to treat Yellow Fever victims.

Other Information

Open Thu – Sun, Jun – Aug;
Thu – Sat, Sep – May
Tours on the hour

Insider Tip

Dr. Physick created the first carbonated soft drink in the United States using the method developed by Schweppes in England. He treated his patients for the relief of gastric disorders with the fizzy water.

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